provincial reconstruction team

“Playstation helps Prince Harry be a better gunner” rates headlines – but “Torture on the rise in Afghan jails” barely rates a mention ... How come?

The answer looks easy: it is all “so yesterday’s war”. Our troops are pulling out of Afghanistan. We’ve heard all that stuff about torture and abuse of detainees before. And if Harry talks about taking a life to save a life, and how video games help him be a better helicopter pilot and gunner - well, that’s just a young man keeping some risky combat experience in perspective. Isn’t it?

The New Zealand-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan has been presented as a model for building security and stability in Afghanistan – but the cracks are showing as insurgents step up the pressure.

Saturday, 4 August 2011, is New Zealand’s blackest day – so far - in the longest war in our history .Two New Zealand soldiers have been killed, six of their unit wounded. Two members of the Afghan police squad they’d been sent to assist were also killed, 11 of their colleagues wounded.

New Zealand troops could be out of Afghanistan next year – but are we stumbling out of one ill-considered international military commitment straight into another, and what happens to our reconstruction and development commitment to the country our troops are leaving?

As New Zealand prepared for ANZAC Day, Prime Minister John Key made a surprise announcement: New Zealand could end its military commitment to Afghanistan as early as next year. The previous timetable – affirmed only a fortnight ago by Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman – had us leaving some time in 2014. So, what’s changed?

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

If the Afghanistan alarm bells were not ringing in Wellington over the last weekend – they should have been

The weekend saw four significant events that should be giving New Zealand’s foreign affairs and defence specialists cause for grave concern about our current risk exposures in Afghanistan.