NZDF

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp faces his final torture test this week, when UNAMA releases a critical report on mistreatment of prisoners in Afghan detention centres.

Top of Wayne Mapp’s things-to-do list before he turns in his Ministerial ticket and leaves Parliament should be the release of the findings of inquiries he instigated in August last year into the possibility that prisoners arreste

Extracting information on military operations in Afghanistan from the New Zealand Defence Force is difficult at the best of times. The Christmas Eve NZSAS raid on the business premises of the Afghan Tiger Group in Kabul last year was not one of NZDF’s best times...

The so-called “combined forces” Christmas raid on the head quarters of the Kabul company that supplies vehicles to the U.S. military seems to have been a messy operation from start to finish. It went something like this.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp’s categoric denial that there were civilian casualties when New Zealand SAS troops took part in a night raid in Baghlan province is wearing thin as more evidence comes to hand from Afghanistan.

The first news of the Baghlan raid came from the governor of the Tala Wa Barfak district, Mohammad Ismael. On 22 August 2010, he told Agence France Presse:

The Government’s spin machine cranks into action but its selective secrecy policy raises more questions about SAS operations in Afghanistan than it answers

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp must have seen it coming.

War hero Willie Apiata is back on the frontline. New Zealand troops are armed with so-called “Jesus guns”. Our troops are training Afghan soldiers and police in counter-insurgency operations. Now, why shouldn’t we know that?

The healthiest development of this month has been the sudden emergence of some real public debate about our military involvement in Afghanistan.