28 September 2011
It is with deep regret that the Chief of Defence Force, LT GEN Rhys Jones, has announced that a serving member of the NZSAS has been killed in Afghanistan.
The man’s immediate next of kin have been informed.
“Once again we are facing the death of one of our brave men in a country far away. My thoughts and indeed the thoughts of all New Zealanders are with this trooper’s family as they face the loss of their loved one.
“The SAS mission in Afghanistan was always going to involve high risk as they actively worked with the Kabul based Crisis Response Unit (CRU) to try and confront the insurgent threat in the country.
“On this occasion a group from the CRU including Interior Ministry legal officials, were serving a Ministry of the Interior judicially authorised arrest warrant in a compound suspected to house suicide bombers in Wardak Province, south east of Kabul. They were accompanied by a number of NZSAS personnel.”
It’s believed that the intent of the insurgents was to conduct an operation in the Kabul region.
“In the early hours of the morning (Afghan time) on Wednesday 28 September, as the group moved to the compound it was engaged by suspected insurgents.
“The SAS trooper was struck in the head by a bullet gravely injuring him, and he was medically evacuated to a hospital where he later died.”
The coalition hospital was approximately ten minutes away by air and had a neurosurgeon working in it.
The battle is ongoing with significant exchanges of fire and reports of explosions.
The name of the deceased will not be released for at least 24 hours to give the family time and space to grieve.
Contact: Chris Wright 021 487 980