Parents of killed Afghan girl plead for NZ Govt inquiry

  • 14/09/2017

Two Afghan parents who claim their daughter was killed during a Special Air Services (SAS) raid have called on the New Zealand Government to launch a full inquiry into the incident.

The three-year-old girl's father said he "feels like [his] heart is exploding" every time he sees a picture of her - and now, he and his wife want an inquiry into the August 2010 military operation that's alleged to have resulted in her death.

"Poor people were killed. There were no Taliban or militants [killed but] my daughter was killed," his wife told Fairfax.

"Fatima was beside me. She was hit by shrapnel in the head and I was disorientated. When I became conscious, I realised her soul had already left her body."

The young Afghan girl's death first came to light earlier this year, when investigative journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson released a book on it, entitled Hit & Run.

Hit & Run alleges six civilians were killed and 15 injured in Operation Burnham in 2010. It also claims SAS soldiers burned and blew up about a dozen houses, and failed to help the wounded.

The plea from the girl's father follows a request for an investigation from the United Nations Committee Against Torture, as part of its list of issues to be responded to by 2019.

Afghanistan's former president Hamid Karzai and a doctor who was involved in medical treatment of those injured in the raid also called for an investigation - the latter telling Fairfax that New Zealand should send "their best high-ranking delegation to Kabul".

That doctor, who was recently captured and killed by the Taliban according to Fairfax, said before he died there needed to be "a fact-finding mission to find out the truth".

Upon the UN'S request for a full inquiry - which was also backed by Amnesty International - Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said the claims made in Hit & Run had already been debunked, and claimed the UN's request was based on "factual inaccuracies".

"The allegations made by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson were disproven and the Chief of Defence Force held a press conference detailing the New Zealand Defence Force raid in Afghanistan in 2010," he said in June.

"I would also like to point out that the findings of the International Security Assistance Force investigation undertaken in 2010 after Operation Burnham were available to the United Nations Assistance Mission - Afghanistan at the time."