'It pisses me off': Kiwi soldier hits out at scrutiny of unit's Afghanistan actions

A former army commander has lifted the lid on the secret world of the SAS, including his eye-witness account of Willie Apiata's Victoria Cross.

Craig Wilson may be out of the army, but he'll be an SAS man until he dies.

"I hope the guys in that team know how much I love them and what I'm willing to do for them," he says.

He joined the elite fighting unit three days after 9/11, and was sent to the 'War on Terror' in Afghanistan.

He was the leader of Corporal Apiata's unit and was at the medal-winning battle in 2004, but says he didn't have time to focus on the details.

"I was busy shooting at the enemy trying to get us out of it, to be honest with you," he says.

But he did recount how Corporal Apiata saved a man under fire and then joined the shooting himself.

"He just never gives up, that guy," Mr Wilson says. "He's a great man."

He also won a medal for his leadership that day - the New Zealand Gallantry decoration.

But the actions of their SAS team have since been publicly questioned, with claims of aggressive moves in a village the day before provoked the Taliban.

"It is a bullshit argument," Mr Wilson says of the criticism.

Those claims are now under inquiry by the Defence Force.

"We didn't swear at them, we didn't physically assault them," he says.

"There's a million ways they could take minor offence to us. Does that warrant 40 guys coming to kill you at dawn? Absolutely not."

He's angry about all of the post-conflict inquiries that have been called for about various Kiwi actions.

"It questions the integrity of everyone in uniform," he says. "And it pisses me off. Because we have done way too much and our word is worth more."