29 December 2010
A joint Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) patrol that conducted an ISAF authorised operation in Kabul on December 24 that resulted in two men being killed, included members of the NZSAS.
After receiving advice of a credible threat to attack the U.S. Embassy, ISAF coordinated with Afghan security forces to move on an area of interest. The joint force moved to the target area near an office building in downtown Kabul.
Intelligence reports indicated there were two vehicles parked there that were thought to be loaded with explosives. The forces were instructed to approach the target area with caution and to announce their identities.
A cordon was in the process of being established while other elements of the force moved to search the area on foot. As they moved towards the target area, the patrol identified themselves in both Pashto and English when they entered. The patrol came under small-arms fire from armed security guards and the patrol was forced to act in self defence, killing two of the guards. A third armed person was seen running into the building nearby.
The force used a non-lethal device to disorient any armed personnel inside. They cleared the building and secured 15 people, including two people who had been wounded. A medic assigned to the group treated the injured. The wounded were offered treatment at an ISAF facility but instead opted to be taken by Afghan security forces to a local hospital.
As the force reached the roof, one man who had been among the initial shooters surrendered.
A large number of weapons, including the small-arms used by the men who fired on the patrol, were found during the operation.
A high-ranking Afghan National Security Forces commander arrived and took command of the scene. He personally vouched for those detained in the operation and they were subsequently released.
ISAF has confirmed that proper protocols and rules of engagement were correctly followed.
Afghan authorities and ISAF are conducting an investigation. The NZDF will be closely following its progress.
Note it is not intended to comment further on this incident, however, if clarification of this release is required contact Cdr Phil Bradshaw, Director of Defence Communications Group, 021 441 493