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Afghan civilian casualties: Probe against SAS begins

Afghan civilian casualties: Probe against SAS begins

May 23, 2019 - 08:58

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A two-day investigation into allegations of civilian killings in Afghanistaninfo-icon against New Zealand’s Special Air Service (SAS) has begun.

The hearing into the behavior of SAS during the 2010 raid, known as Operation Burnham, is underway in Wellington, according to Newhub.

The Special Air Service killed civilians during Operation Burnham in central Uruzgan province, an allegation leveled in the book Hit & Run.

Former Supreme Court judge Sir Terence Arnold and ex-prime minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer are leading the hearing in Wellington.

Documents released in 2010 show the Defence Force knew nine non-insurgents, including womeninfo-icon, were likely killed, injured or went missing during the attack in Tirgiran Valley.

The fatalities also included three-year-old Fatima, whose death triggered a countrywide outrage. SAS soldiers allegedly torched and blew up a dozen houses.

Nicky Hager, who co-authored the book, said during Wednesday's hearing the NZDF's strategy in Afghanistan was "incoherent".

If the organisation had admitted it had accidently killed and injured innocents, the inquiry would not be needed, he opined.

"The bottom line is there may or may not have been civilian casualties," says one document said, while another claims the actions were "correct and in accordance with the threat presented".

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

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