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NZDF v Hit and Run: the differences

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/03/2017

The New Zealand Defence Force and authors Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager in their book Hit and Run make a number of varying claims about what happened during Operation Burnham in Afghanistan in August 2010.

WHAT WAS THE RAID CALLED AND WHEN DID IT HAPPEN?

* Both the NZDF and the book say the raid Operation Burnham was carried out in Afghanistan on August 22, 2010

WHERE DID IT TAKE PLACE?

* The NZDF says the raid took place in the village of Tirgiran in Baghlan Province

* The book alleges the raids occurred 2km north in the villages of Naik and Khak Khuday Dad

* Hager and Stephenson have since conceded the NZDF might be right about the location of the raids, but claim the village names are correct

WHAT WAS THE BASIS?

* Both the NZDF and the book say the raid targeted Taliban insurgent leaders responsible for the death of Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell, who was killed by a roadside bomb in nearby Bamyan Province

* The NZDF says it was based on sound intelligence

* The book claims forces were not sure the intelligence was reliable

WAS IT REVENGE?

* The New Zealand Defence Force says the raid was not revenge

* The book claims the raid was in retaliation for Lt O'Donnell's death

WHO WAS INVOLVED?

* SAS ground forces were supported by coalition air forces, under the command of a New Zealand SAS commander

* The book claims SAS ground forces were supported by local Afghan forces and two US Apache helicopter helicopters, under the command of the SAS

WERE INSURGENTS KILLED?

* The NZDF says nine insurgents were killed

* The book claims no insurgents were killed

WERE CIVILIANS KILLED?

* The NZDF admits there may have been civilian casualties when a gun misfired, shots fell short and hit a building where there were known insurgents and possible civilians

* Locals told an Afghan governor six civilians had been killed - four adult males, an adult female and a six-year-old girl

* The book claims six civilians were killed - five men and a three-year-old girl. It also says 15 were wounded

HOW DID THE DEATHS OCCUR?

* The NZDF says ground forces fired two single rounds, both hitting and killing one insurgent. Air forces targeted insurgents on the ground, killing eight

* The book claims four civilians were killed by aircraft fire and two were killed by NZ SAS ground forces

HOW WERE HOMES DESTROYED IN THE RAIDS?

* The NZDF says two dwellings caught fire while weapons and ammunition including rocket propelled grenades found during a search were being destroyed outside

* The book claims the houses were deliberately destroyed, including being targeted by rockets

HOW IS THE OPERATION OUTCOME REGARDED?

* Defence Force Chief Lieutenant General Tim Keating says the conduct of Kiwi forces was "exemplary"

* The book claims then defence minister Wayne Mapp described the operation to a friend as a "fiasco"

* Dr Mapp has not denied the comment, later saying "one of the disasters of war is these terrible things can happen"

DOES THERE NEED TO BE AN INQUIRY?

* Lt-Gen Keating says he has no personal problem with an inquiry but "legally it would be a bit of a challenge" to convince people to give evidence

* The book claims a full and independent inquiry is necessary to determine exactly what occurred and the extent of any cover-up

* Prime Minister Bill English says he won't be rushed into an inquiry

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