9 Jun 2017

UN 'not aware' of Afghan raid dispute - Brownlee

10:12 pm on 9 June 2017

The government denies the United Nations has asked it for a full investigation into a controversial 2010 SAS raid in Afghanistan.


A book by Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager makes a number of allegations involving a 2010 SAS raid in Afghanistan. Photo: RNZ/Jane Patterson

The United Nations Committee Against Torture has asked the government to report on what measures it has put in place to fully investigate the allegations about the raids made in investigative journalists Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager's book Hit & Run.

The book, released in March, claimed six civilians were killed instead of insurgents in the raid.

It also claimed homes were destroyed, wounded people were not treated and a prisoner was mistreated.

The Committee Against Torture released a list of questions for New Zealand to report on prior to its examination by the committee in Geneva, which will likely take place in 2019. Question 27 related to the Afghan raids:

"Please indicate what measures the State party has put in place to ensure that all allegations relating to 'Operation Burnham' will be fully investigated and addressed."

Prime Minister Mr English decided in April not to hold an inquiry into the operation.

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee said the UN committee was asking the question based on factual inaccuracies written in the book.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

"The wording that they have used indicates that they are not aware that the government has disputed the allegations and, in fact, I think conclusively disproved the allegations made in the book that was published earlier in the year."

However, he said the government would respond to the request for information.

Amnesty International NZ executive director Grant Bayldon said an investigation was "clearly the right thing to do".

"We have very real concerns about the impartiality of military forces investigating military conduct. It's not too late for the Prime Minister to order a thorough, independent inquiry. We owe it to New Zealand's international reputation and the men and women who represent us in conflicts overseas to remove any shadow of a doubt about our military conduct."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs