Hager ‘Hit & Run’ talks

Researcher and author Nicky Hager speaks at the University of Otago yesterday afternoon. Photo:...
Researcher and author Nicky Hager speaks at the University of Otago yesterday afternoon. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Investigative journalist Nicky Hager is not discouraged by the lack of an official inquiry into claims that civilians were killed in a New Zealand-led SAS raid on two remote villages in Afghanistan.

Hager and  Jon Stephenson co-wrote the recently published book Hit & Run, in which the allegations are made.

The New Zealand Defence Force  has said, in response, that no civilians were killed by New Zealanders. They also referred to an investigation carried out by US and Afghan forces which they say found the allegations of civilian casualties were unfounded.

Hager yesterday gave two talks  on campus about the book and "the issues for New Zealand",  hosted by the university’s National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Hager said  one possible way of defusing public concerns about the allegations would have been for an inquiry to be held, which might have dragged on for long time.

The decision not to hold an inquiry was "not the end of the matter", and serious questions remained about this incident in what had become a "ghastly, pointless, going-nowhere war".

He was "very pleased" with the overall response of the public and believed pressure would continue  for more information to be released about the raid, on August 22, 2010, and for an inquiry to be held.

Hager also highlighted what he said was a growing influence of the New Zealand special forces within the defence force  structure and leadership.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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