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Will We Be The Last To Know, Helen?

Green Party Defence spokesperson Keith Locke says it's becoming even more absurd that the government refuses to let New Zealand know if Kiwi SAS troops are in Afghanistan.

"From today's news we know seven nations (America, Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Norway and Denmark) are involved in fighting in the east and south of Afghanistan," said Mr Locke.

"Why does our government have to be so much more secretive than the governments of other countries? Don't we have a right to know what is being done in our name?

"Helen Clark's 'no comment' is becoming ever more inappropriate as more information comes out about what others are doing.

"Will it take the sad eventuality of a New Zealand casualty for her to break her silence? Or would she still cite 'security reasons' to withhold the tragic news?

Mr Locke pointed out that speculation is already rife that if Kiwi soldiers are present, they are with British forces in southern Afghanistan. New Zealand's SAS works closely with its British counterpart, and when troops were committed back in September a New Zealand unit was participating in the British exercise Paludrin in the Middle East.

"And if they are not in Afghanistan, then why on earth the need for secrecy?" Mr Locke asked.

"I have raised questions in the House about whether our SAS is or has been in Afghanistan, but the government has refused to give any information.

"Perhaps Helen Clark, with her peace background, is quite rightly embarrassed about our military participation in this increasingly pointless war."


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