05 August 2010
The New Zealand Defence Force will commission a Court of Inquiry into the attack on Defence Force personnel that occurred in Bamyan early yesterday morning (NZT) resulting in the death of Lieutenant (LT) Tim O’Donnell and serious injuries to two other soldiers and an Afghan interpreter.
“The Court of Inquiry will consider how the incident took place and the tactics and procedures of the personnel involved in the contact,” Commander Joint Forces Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Peter Stockwell says.
“It will involve talking to members of the patrol as well as a site visit.”
The Defence Force is unable to provide a timeframe on its expected completion at this stage.
Meanwhile, repatriation activities are underway to ensure the safe return of LT O’Donnell to New Zealand.
LT O’Donnell was farewelled in a simple but sombre ceremony in Bamyan township early this morning, NZ time. It was attended by elements of the NZ Provincial Reconstruction Team, the Provincial Governor, Dr Habiba Sarabi and the Acting Provincial Chief of Police.
Attendees at the ceremony wore red poppies in honour of their fallen comrade.
The wounded soldiers, Lance Corporal Matthew Ball and Private Allister Baker, and the interpreter accompanied the casket to Bagram Air Force Base, flown by a coalition air force C130 Hercules. They are receiving further medical treatment and have been admitted to the Bagram hospital.
“The NZDF is working with authorities in Afghanistan, and coalition countries to try and bring Tim, Matthew and Allister home as quickly as possible,” AVM Stockwell says. “However, it is a complex task, ensuring the necessary air assets and other requirements are in place to repatriate Tim.”
This morning the Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae and AVM Stockwell visited the O’Donnell family to express their condolences personally.
AVM Stockwell says there will be a clearer picture by the end of the day as to the return of LT O’Donnell.
The Defence Force expects to be able to provide an update late this afternoon.
Point of contact: New Zealand Defence Force Media Manager Chris Wright on 021 487 980
Imagery: Please note images of the ceremony in Bamyan are available through the Getty images website [http://gettyimages.co.nz].
Note to editors: There are currently 207 New Zealand Defence Force personnel in Afghanistan. 106 personnel are serving with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team, in Bamyan province led by Mr Dick Newlands.
The sixteenth rotation of the Defence Force contingent arrived in Afghanistan in April 2010 and will remain in Afghanistan for approximately six months.