Kiwi troops to remain behind the wire in IS fight

  • 05/11/2014

The Prime Minister has committed New Zealand to the fight against Islamic State (IS), but without combat.

In a speech today John Key confirmed New Zealand would have a role in Iraq, but that it will most likely be a training one.

"New Zealanders will have seen the brutal and distressing methods IS uses, including beheading displays and mass killings. These deserve the strongest condemnation," says Mr Key.

That condemnation also means a military contribution to the coalition fighting IS in Iraq.

The Prime Minister wants to send Kiwi troops to the war in Iraq, but to help train soldiers.

"I am ruling out sending SAS or any troops into combat roles in Iraq," Mr Key says.

While no decision has officially been made, three soldiers left for Iraq yesterday to assess a training role. Mr Key's conditions are that the role is limited to training Iraqi forces, troops will be restricted to an army base, they must be able to fly in and out rather than travel on roads, and they will likely be protected by SAS soldiers.

So while Kiwi boots will be on the ground in Iraq, Mr Key says that's a technicality.

"It's not boots on the ground," he promises.

In Afghanistan the SAS were training soldiers, but that included going out into combat. This time Mr Key says training will be training.

"Iraq has to take control of its own destiny," he says.

There's also another role for Kiwi soldiers or spies from the Security Intelligence Service and GCSB – identifying targets for air strikes.

3 News


source: newshub archive