NZ Special Forces in Kabul - Statement from Chief of Defence Force, LT GEN Rhys Jones

4 July 2011

“The NZDF maintains a policy of not providing operational detail about Special Forces’ operations. Our troops’ safety and operational success are a direct result of the tactics, training and procedures they employ.

As has been evidenced by media over the weekend a single image has led to speculation about our capabilities, which in turn can lead to the development of tactics to counter our effectiveness. The situation is exacerbated by our operations in Kabul occurring under a media spotlight which makes discreet activity even more difficult. 

There has been growing media speculation since last Tuesday’s attack on the Hotel Intercontinental in Kabul that our soldiers were injured by friendly fire from Afghan forces.  I do not have the luxury of being able to speculate; the information I require has to be as exact as possible.

What I do know is that counter terrorism operations by their very nature are complex and confusing, with clearing a large, multi-storey building of an unknown number of insurgents ranking as one of the most difficult tasks to undertake. Two of our soldiers were wounded during the operation suffering moderate injuries, and both have responded well to medical treatment with one having already made a full recovery.

We have no evidence to suggest that any of their injuries were the result of ‘friendly fire’, although we cannot categorically rule that out. Reporting from our troops indicate that the injuries were the result of insurgent action.

What I can categorically state is that the Defence Force has not received any apology from Afghan authorities.

I remain extremely proud of the actions taken by our troops last week, and salute their courage and professionalism in what was an extremely dangerous and difficult situation. “


Contact: Chris Wright, Media Manager, NZDF  (021) 487 980.

This page was last reviewed on 4 July 2011.