Army chiefs and the Defence Minister have hit back at claims
that ill-prepared soldiers were sent into combat in
A report leaked to the New Zealand Herald has strongly
criticised the training given to an army contingent sent to
Afghanistan which lost five of its members in combat.
The report was written by a sergeant in military intelligence
who reviewed the group's preparation in Hawkes Bay, where the
troops performed exercises simulating situations they were
likely to encounter in Bamiyan province.
In response, Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said he
rejected claims the NZDF Crib 20 rotation to Bamyan in
Afghanistan, which suffered the loss of five lives, was
In a statement, he said: "The NZDF prides itself on its
professional standards. This rotation was assessed by the
NZDF as trained to assume full operational duties in Bamyan."
"The report to which the NZ Herald refers was one of 23
evaluations conducted during pre-deployment training which
contributed to a final training report," he said.
And a statement sent simultaneously by the Vice Chief of
Defence Force, Major General Tim Keating, said the troops had
been "independently assessed as capable, having completed all
the appropriate PDT and in-theatre training. CRIB 20
personnel were focused, positive and ready to get on with the
He said the leaked report mentioned in the Herald article is
only one report written by one of 23 evaluators and mentors
(Subject Matter Experts) who observed Exercise Afghan Step.
He said the further training needs were identified as a
result of monitoring of the training exercise.
He said in a statement: "There is always a requirement for
some level of in-theatre/country specific training for any
mission, this in theatre training also addressed the areas
identified for further training during Ex Afghan Step in NZ."