23 Aug 2009

Govt won't confirm or deny if NZ troops back in Afghanistan

9:13 pm on 23 August 2009

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says he can't confirm or deny if Special Air Service troops are back in Afghanistan.

About 50 members of the group, Global Peace and Justice, staged a protest outside the headquarters of the SAS army base in Papakura in south Auckland on Saturday, claiming elite soldiers flew out to Afghanistan a week ago.

Mr McCully says it's a long standing policy for the Government not to confirm anything about SAS deployments for security reasons.

The Government recently announced the return of the elite SAS to the country and plans to scale back the provincial reconstruction team.

The Prime Minister has said it is likely that three rotations of up to 70 personnel would be deployed over an 18 month period.