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Afghans Need Aid, Not SAS

New Zealand's SAS contingent should be withdrawn from Afghanistan following the American bombing of a wedding party, Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

"Up to a hundred innocent civilians have been slaughtered in this latest tragedy," said Keith Locke. "This country should not be associated with such trigger-happy behaviour.

Keith Locke is calling on Helen Clark to give an assurance that New Zealand troops were not involved in the operation that saw the air-strike called in on the wedding party.

"Our SAS troops should be withdrawn immediately. We don't want New Zealand's good name muddied by association such Rambo-like behaviour.

"Any assistance we give Afghanistan should be in reconstruction aid, not in helping the American war effort. There is an ongoing factional conflict in Afghanistan, but America's military effort is hindering rather than helping efforts towards political reconciliation.

"We shouldn't be involved in America's so-called 'war on terrorism,' which George W. Bush is threatening to extend into other countries he perceives as 'enemies,' like Iraq.

"America's military arrogance is illustrated by its current blackmail of the UN Security Council to try to get its forces excluded from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The latest incident in Afghanistan shows just why the US should not be immune from international justice.

"The Greens will raise the issue of withdrawing our combat troops from Afghanistan in any post-election talks with Labour," said Mr Locke. "We hope that this new tragic incident will help the government see the error of its ways."


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