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New Zealand SAS Await Call

by Selwyn Manning

As British SAS and United States special military units become operative in and around Afghanistan, Scoop reports New Zealand forces are awaiting a call to duty.

New Zealand is formally awaiting a governmental request for assistance from the commanding nations coalition of nations waging war against terrorism - notably the United States and Britain.

Government sources told Scoop last night [New Zealand time] that no request had been made by the international community, as to our involvement in any military action: “So no decisions have been made as to what involvement New Zealand would have should such a request be made.”

Scoop received information last night that New Zealand SAS soldiers had been called to stand ready, to prepare for departure to an undisclosed destination.

Scoop understands that today, the New Zealand SAS operative call remains on alert.

Government sources say however, confusion had arisen due to information circulating around the pre-planned exercise in the Middle East: “But that has been called off,” Scoop was told.

New Zealand SAS soldiers were to be taking part in an exercise in and around the Middle East, along with other international forces including British. That exercise was called off after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 12 [New Zealand time].

This morning, the New Zealand Herald reported two British SAS units had left their Brize Norton airfield to join MI6 and CIA operatives already in northern Afghanistan, and the US 82nd Airborne and 101st Air Assault Division based themselves in Pakistan at Quetta, Dera Ismail and the Badeber base near Peshawar.

Deep penetration units of the US 160th Aviation Regiment "Nightstalkers", specialists in operating in difficult weather and terrain, are reported to be heading to Pakistan via Sicily with their Pave Hawk and Littlebird stealth helicopters, the Herald reported. American Halo (high altitude, low opening) paratroopers are also on standby. These units jump at night from up to 6100m, using oxygen, before opening their parachutes within a few hundred metres of the ground.

The British SAS units are trained to operate within enemy territory for long-periods, while their American counterparts favour swift hit-and-run tactics using Black Hawk and Super Stallion helicopters, the Herald reported.

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