Locke glad SAS not returning to Afghanistan

Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke has welcomed the Government’s decision not to send SAS troops back to Afghanistan.

“It is good that our SAS will not be part of the military debacle in the south of country — where the trigger-happy American forces have only made matters worse. So many civilians have been killed in NATO’s bombing raids that the Taliban extremists are, unfortunately, staging a comeback.

“Itis much better that New Zealand is, instead, largely sticking with its peacekeeping unit, the Provincial Reconstruction Team in the benign Bamiyan province, where it is doing good work, apparently without having to fire a shot.

“Even though the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating, the Greens welcome the fact that this country is not putting its troops behind the US military effort. New Zealand has decided to maintain only a limited behind the lines presence within the ISAF force in Afghanistan, and will contribute two staff to the Canadian PRT medical team operating out of Kandahar, a unit that has both multinational and Afghan members, and some female medical staff.

“The Greens are not too keen on one of our frigates ‘showing the flag’ in the US-led Maritime Interdiction Operation in the Arabian Gulf, but at least this is merely a token contribution, lasting for just over a month,” Mr Locke says.