Coincidental NZDF report on Afghanistan

NZ Herald has obtained a Defence Force draft report on their deployment in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.

A damning NZ Defence Force report on our largest commitment to Afghanistan is hugely critical of politicians and senior commanders, along with many other aspects of our decade-long deployment to the country.

But it was shelved after being deemed “insufficiently accurate”, a decision made by a commander who oversaw one of New Zealand’s six-month deployments to the country.

The fate of the draft report on the Provincial Reconstruction Team’s deployment to Bamiyan contrasts with comments by a military source familiar with its production, who said there was never any feedback of deep inaccuracies.

Instead, the NZ Herald was told, there was concern inside Defence headquarters about the media getting hold of it.

Key findings include:

  • The report is critical of a lack of a “cohesive campaign plan” and that decisions made in Wellington were impacting on the freedom of commanders to command in the field.
  • It says our team endured poor facilities and substandard equipment; some personnel had to buy their own boots as those supplied “failed to cope with rough conditions”.
  • There were also issues with weapons, including faulty rifle equipment and too-few infra-red sights.

More details: Our faulty war: the Afghanistan report they fought to keep secret

A draft report claimed to contain inaccuracies but highlighting problems corroborated by other sources.

What about the timing of the publication of this?

The Herald obtained the report through the Official Information Act after a three-year struggle and the intervention of Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier.

In releasing the report to the Herald, Commander Joint Forces NZ Major General Tim Gall said in a letter it had too many inaccuracies to be relied on.

The Herald article  has a link to the letter: MAJOR-GENERAL TIM GALL LETTER (p. 1)

NZDFlettertoFisher

That’s dated 5 December 2016.

Investigative journalism can take time, but the timing of this being published, within a week of the launch of Hager and Stephenson’s book, is interesting. It is one of a several reports by Fisher related to the Defence Force in Afghanistan.