Defence Force sits on Operation Burnham info

Nicky Hager & Jon Stephenson launching Hit & Run. which made explosive claims about the  SAS in Afghanistan

MONIQUE MARY FORD

Nicky Hager & Jon Stephenson launching Hit & Run. which made explosive claims about the SAS in Afghanistan

Video footage of the controversial Afghan raid at the centre of claims in the book Hit and Run remains secret after the New Zealand Defence Force confirmed the US military has still not agreed to its release.

NZDF is also refusing to release other details about the raid, including an International Security Assistance Force report.

Authors Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson claimed in their book Hit and Run, released March, that SAS soldiers were involved in the death of six Afghan civilians, including a young child, during a raid in 2010.

The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating reject the books claims

MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ

The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating reject the books claims

The book claims the SAS led raid on two villages in the Tirigiran Valley but Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Tim Keating has accused them of major inaccuracies, saying Kiwi troops never operated in the two villages identified as the site of the attack. Keating has rejected calls for an inquiry.

The video footage could shed more light on the claims and counter claims and NZDF has confirmed it has the video in its possession.

Stuff lodged an Official Information ACT request with NZDF seeking a copy of video footage taken during the raid. The request also sought further detailed information including the ISAF report, briefing reports, operational plans and other planning documents.

In its response today, NZDF refused to release the video footage, saying it did not have permission from the US military to do so.

“No video footage was taken by the NZDF during Operation Burnham….the NZDF has asked the United States to declassify and release video imagery captured during Operation Burnham and passed to the NZDF. That permission has not been received at this time.”

Its grounds for refusing to release other documentation was to protect the security and defence of New Zealand.

An ISAF report was conducted after the raid and raised the likelihood of civilian casualties but Keating confirms he saw only the executive summary.