4 Jul 2011

PM rejects claim SAS hit by friendly fire

10:25 pm on 4 July 2011

Prime Minister John Key says the Defence Force does not believe two New Zealand soldiers injured in Kabul were hit by friendly fire and is rejecting a report that the Afghan government has apologised.

The SAS officers were also wounded during a Taliban attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul last Tuesday which left 22 people dead, including the nine attackers.

The elite soldiers were working alongside Afghan police to secure the hotel. They have responded well to medical treatment and one has fully recovered.

Bilal Sarwary, a BBC correspondent in Kabul, says officials told him a police officer accidentally shot one of SAS soldiers and that Afghanistan's Minister for the Interior had apologised.

Mr Sarwary says his sources are reliable police officials he has known for years.

But Prime Minister John Key said on Monday while it was a complex operation, the Defence Force does not believe the soldiers were hit by friendly fire and there has been no official apology.

Radio New Zealand understands the Defence Force may make further inquiries into the matter.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says he is not aware of any apology.