“Continue to play our part”
John Key has confirmed that New Zealand will continue to play its part in the plunder and colonial occupation of Afghanistan well beyond the promised withdraw date of 2013.
27 NZDF troops are due to remain in Afghanistan in a variety of roles until sometime in 2014. These include the following:
- Eight personnel deployed to the UK-led Afghan National Army Officer Training Academy in Kabul from later this year.
- 12 personnel to the ISAF Special Operations Forces headquarters employed mainly in intelligence and planning roles (this includes 3 SAS members)
- Three personnel with the ISAF headquarters in Kabul
- Three support personnel as part of the New Zealand 'National Support Element'
- One officer with the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan
The issue isn’t really how many NZDF troops are remaining, but rather why they are remaining. The NZDF has totally failed in its stated mission of the past 10 years: that of making Bamiyan province more secure and extending the authority of the central government. Having failed to accomplish what it was allegedly sent to do, why stay?
The NZDF is fulfilling the mission it was ultimately really sent to do: to shore up close working relationships on active duty with the US and UK, and to demonstrate to both that Kiwis are more than willing to stay involved in a dirty war for the right rewards.
Key says ‘we have invested a lot of resources’ in Afghanistan. So like a good investment banker, he doesn’t want to just walk away from his investment that includes the loss of 10 NZDF soldiers who gave their lives to prop up a grotesque occupation.
Afghanistan is a strategic prize, one that the British tried in vain to subdue. With rich natural resources and situated next to the US's archenemy Iran, Afghanistan is very important to the US. With Bin Laden dead, the war can 'end' and the plundering by US multinationals can really begin in earnest.
The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has never had any basis in international law. The actions of the US, NATO, ISAF and by extension, New Zealand must be seen as crimes against humanity and war crimes. Crimes against humanity because New Zealand deployed a frigate and SAS to engage in combat operations in a war of aggression launched by the US in reaction to the events of September 11th, 2001.
War crimes have been committed by New Zealand troops in handing over captives to the Afghan National Security Directorate and the US at Bagram Air Force base where they disappeared. NZDF personnel failed to take the most basic measures to ensure that these prisoners of war were not subjected to torture and extraordinary rendition.
The decision to keep NZDF troops in Afghanistan until 2014 is not surprising. These soldiers could be involved in gathering intelligence ultimately used to conduct drone attacks or other ‘special operations’ – hundreds of which have resulted in the murders of innocent Afghan people.
Without a doubt, the soldiers there will give material support to a murderous war of aggression which has left Afghanistan worse than 12 years ago. The political leaders of NZ should be held to account for their role in this.