New Zealand should rebuff British overtures to send a new counter-insurgency combat force to Afghanistan, Green Party Defence Spokesperson Keith Locke says.
“We should be like France and stick to a strictly peacekeeping role.
“New Zealand officers have worked with European peacekeepers in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in and around Kabul. But now the British want to inveigle ISAF nations into America’s dirty war elsewhere in the country.
“New Zealand special forces being engaged under ISAF would be no more acceptable than their present assignment as part of the American-led Operation Enduring Freedom in the south and east.
“We just shouldn’t be part of an American combat operation that is so trigger happy, so lacking in cultural sensitivity and so mistreats any prisoners it takes. New Zealand will be horribly embarrassed if it comes out that a prisoner captured by our SAS has been tortured at Guantanamo Bay or in one of the CIA’s gulag prisons in Poland or Romania.
“We all want a peaceful, democratic Afghanistan, but the American conduct of the war, as in nearby Iraq, has been counter-productive and destabilising.
“New Zealand has held its end up with peacekeeping, aid and reconstruction work, particularly around Bamian. There is absolutely no need for us to be part of Britain or America’s combat operations in south and east Afghanistan,” Mr Locke says.