Afghan raid protest calls for independent inquiry

8:09 pm on 22 August 2017

A protest to commemorate Afghan civilians allegedly killed during a raid involving New Zealand soldiers was been held in Wellington.

Author and journalist Nicky Hager at the protest by the Hit and Run Inquiry Campaign.

Author and journalist Nicky Hager at the protest by the Hit and Run Inquiry Campaign. Photo: RNZ / Mervin Johnson

Today was the seventh anniversary of the raid in August 2010.

The Hit and Run Inquiry Campaign organised the protest and repeated a call called for the government to hold an independent inquiry. Last week, lawyers acting for the Afghan villagers caught in the raid involving the SAS went to the High Court to calling for a probe.

Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson's book Hit and Run published earlier this year alleged several civilians were killed or injured in the raid. The Defence Force questioned the authors' claims, and the government ruled out an inquiry.

In April, Prime Minister Bill English said there was no basis for an inquiry.

Campaign member Marianne Elliot said the 40-strong protest demonstrated ongoing public interest despite the refusal to hold an inquiry.

Mr Hager, who addressed the crowd, said the Defence Force still claimed that nothing went wrong.

"By not fronting up, the Defence Force will have ultimately made it worse for themselves," he said.

Investigative journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson have released a book, 'Hit & Run', about the New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan.

Investigative journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson's book focused on the SAS in Afghanistan. Photo: RNZ / Hans Weston

Peace Action Wellington member Laura Drew told the crowd the government had tried to sweep the issue under the rug. Campaign supporter Adrian Leason said New Zealand had a habit of not commemorating tragedies involving New Zealanders.

He said the protesters were calling on politicians to be courageous and provide moral leadership.

"They are not elected to cover up mistakes and tragedies.

"Their job is to bring the truth out into the light."

Mr Hager said he was certain the truth of what happened during the raid would come out in the next couple of years.

"Politicians need to decide what side of history they want to be on."

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