“The disturbing findings of the Operation Burnham Inquiry released today require the NZ government to take decisive steps to disestablish the NZ Special Air Service (NZSAS),” said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.
“After nearly a decade of denials and outright lies, the truth about Operation Burnham has been exposed: war crimes committed by NZ forces in Afghanistan. This inquiry found that the NZSAS murdered civilians, that these were not investigated and senior military leadership lied to the government about these actions. The National Party Minister of Defence of the time Wayne Mapp continued these lies to the public despite having been fully briefed.”
“It isn’t enough to reform the NZSAS and the NZDF. This inquiry finds deep and systemic problems. We need to remember this isn’t even the first case of NZSAS illegal and immoral conduct in Afghanistan. Author Jon Stephenson documented the raid of Band-E-Timur including the death of a child and the handing over of 50-70 men to be tortured by Afghan forces at Bagram Air Force Base. The NZDF lied about that operation for years, and slandered the journalist.”
“While the recommendations of the report are useful, they are woefully inadequate. The problems with the NZSAS go beyond those outlined in this report; a special forces unit is unnecessary and dangerous in a democractic country.”
“Frankly, this report just adds to our knowledge of a myriad of other issues within NZDF including ongoing sexual assault. We demand that the government go much further than these superficial recommendations. The disestablishment of the NZSAS is the proper course of action given this report today.”
“Given the role of Wayne Mapp in covering up what had happened and his conscious decision to mislead the NZ public about war crimes, there should be legal consequences for him as well.”
“Peace Action Wellington has started a Give-A-Little Fundraiser for the victims of Operation Burnham. We encourage people to give if they are able. The link is here: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/operation-burnham-afghan-family-victims-reparation.”
“We acknowledge that this will not undo the damage done in our name to these families. We intend this donation as both a respectful apology for our complicity in these deaths and injuries and as a message of solidarity to the people of Afghanistan. We demand an end to NZ complicity in wars in Afghanistan and around the world.”