John Key’s decision to leave SAS troops in Afghanistan despite the long-planned March 2011 withdrawal date is a disappointing concession to pressure from the United States, Green Party defence spokesperson Keith Locke said today.
Prime Minister John Key today announced that half of the 70 Special Air Service (SAS) troops currently in Afghanistan will be staying till the end of April 2012.
“Prime Minister John Key has missed a golden opportunity to extract all of New Zealand’s Special Forces from this unpopular and unwinnable war,” said Mr Locke.
“Continued participation in the war is not doing New Zealand’s reputation any good. New Zealand Special Forces participation in a raid in Kabul, in which two Afghan security guards were shot, is a case in point.
“It appears the Key Government has succumbed to pressure from the United States and Britain to keep some of our Special Forces there.
“New Zealand should be concentrating its efforts on peace-making and support for reconstruction in Afghanistan,” said Mr Locke.
“We should be promoting negotiations between the Afghan factions to end the war and the withdrawal of foreign forces.”