Afghan villagers enlist New Zealand lawyers over SAS raid
Afghan villagers at the centre of a deadly SAS raid have enlisted the help of New Zealand lawyers who are calling for an independent inquiry into the alleged "revenge attack".
It follows claims in Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson's new book Hit & Run that civilians were killed and injured during the raid in 2010.
Nearly seven years on those left broken by the raid want answers and they've got Kiwi lawyers on their side.
"We will be asking the Attorney General and the Prime Minister to launch an independent inquiry into the allegations," lawyer Richard McLeod says.
Those allegations are that the raid on two villages in Baghlan province led to the death of six civilians - among them three -year-old Fatima.
It's also claimed 15 others were injured in the attack.
"The material that has been released to date established credible allegationsâ€¦ that the New Zealand defence forces breached fundamental principles of both New Zealand law and international law including war crimes and the violation of the right to life," Mr McLeod says.
In 2014, Hit & Run co-author Jon Stephenson met with the villagers, some of whom were left disabled by the attack.
"One of the guys had a big chunk of shrapnel that hit him in the back, and he showed me the wound. Another guy had wounds to different parts of his body," Mr Stephenson says.
One of those was Mohammad Iqbal, who told Mr Stephenson he was injured by helicopter gunfire in that raid.
"It is very hard for me to work, I can't work, I can't walk even," he said.
The villagers asked Mr Stephenson for help, and last year he contacted human rights lawyer Deborah Manning - well-known for her work in New Zealand with Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui.
"We're saying that under law an independent investigation and inquiry must occur as stage one, and following that you look at stage two which is accountability," she says.
Ms Manning says reparations and an apology may be sought further down the track.
"They are a simple poor village, and they have lost their dear people for no reason and they just ask for whatever help can be given to them," she says.
Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First have also called for an inquiry since Hit & Run's release, but this morning Prime Minister Bill English was non-committal.
"We're not being rushed into it, we're just working our way through it," Mr English says.
Mr English says he now plans to discuss the issue with Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and the Chief of Defence on Sunday.