21 Oct 2011

Minister releases report on Afghan detainees

6:05 pm on 21 October 2011

The Defence Minister has released the results of an investigation into New Zealand's role in detaining prisoners in Afghanistan.

Earlier in October, a United Nations report found that prisoners held at a number of facilities run by the Afghan authorities had been tortured.

In a report on Friday, Defence Force chief Lieutentant-General Rhys Jones says there is no complicity in torture or any other international crime by New Zealand or members of the Defence Force.

Lieutentant-General Jones says he will not allow Afghan prisoners captured by New Zealand forces to be sent to prisons on the torture list, but can't guarantee the same for people arrested in joint SAS operations with the local Crisis Response Unit.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says only one person has been arrested directly by the New Zealand elite troops, but 193 people have been captured during missions with the CRU.

Dr Mapp told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme that New Zealand does not control the government of Afghanistan and the challenge is to lift its capability.

The minister says the report finds that members of the Defence Force in Afghanistan continue to display the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.