Families of killed soldiers want explanation from Defence Force over Afghanistan

New Zealand SAS soldiers are accused of rolling into an Afghan village with dead Taliban soldiers tied to the front of their trucks.

A new documentary called The Valley claims after the battle in which Willie Apiata earned his Victoria Cross, Kiwi forces made a show of the dead soldiers to provoke villagers.

The official story is that in 2004 in Uruzgan Province, an SAS patrol was ambushed by Taliban fighters. Willie Apiata's vehicle was hit by a rocket, injuring his commander.

Mr Apiata carried him 70 metres to safety through enemy fire to get lifesaving medical assistance. He rearmed and went back to successfully fend off the attack, and his heroism earned him a Victoria Cross.

  • Watch Stuff Circuit's documentary The Valley on Three at 9:30pm, Monday night

But a new documentary alleges the next day the SAS unit went back to the nearby village with the bodies of six Taliban fighters tied to the front of their trucks and accused locals of being members of the Taliban.

The Valley focuses on New Zealand's military involvement in Afghanistan and alleges the public has never been told the full story.

"We want them to be punished for how brutal they were to us. We hadn't done anything.. and everything that happened to us was sudden and unjustified," a villager says in the documentary.

The Stuff Circuit investigative team travelled to the exact spot in Baghak where in August 2012 two New Zealand soldiers were killed and another six injured in a firefight.

The documentary asks whether New Zealand forces provoked a firefight that ended up killing two of its own. It claims the questions that should've been asked weren't, and conclusions don't fit the evidence.

The families of both soldiers killed are demanding answers..

Helen Thomasen, mother of Rory Malone who was killed in action in Baghak said

"I know he's dead and I can't change the outcome, I can't change that. I know that. but if there's been an injustice then they should be accountable."

Former Army training instructor Aaron Wood said "There should be no reason why the Defence Force does not front to explain Baghak - it owes society details. and an explanation. an honest explanation. It owes its soldiers that were there an honest explanation."

Intelligence and defence analyst Paul Buchanan says the Defence Force can't continue to stonewall and whitewash what happened.

"The trouble for them is the evidence is mounting. There's been a series of failures,  command failures in the field and the headquarters in Afghanistan."

Ms Thomasen says "I want to know the ins and outs.. I want the truth."

Critics say if the Defence Force has its way, the truth is unlikely to ever be revealed.