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NZDF leaders to be grilled over Afghanistan civilian deaths

Jonathan Mitchell, Journalist

Present and past top brass within the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will be grilled at an inquiry into a raid in Afghanistan nearly a decade ago.

The Operation Burnham inquiry is investigating allegations in the book, Hit and Run, that six civilians were killed in Afghanistan during a New Zealand-led raid in 2010, and the military covered up what happened.

This week, the inquiry will hear from those directly at the top and assess public statements made by the NZDF and advice given to ministers about civilian deaths.

Twelve witnesses will be called to give evidence, including former chiefs of defence, Lieutenant General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, Rhys Jones and Tim Keating, along with Chief Air Marshal Kevin Short.

Former chiefs of staff, and other senior officials will also be summoned.

Hit and Run authors Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson will be cross-examined.

Most of the Operation Burnham inquiry is being held behind closed doors.

It is being led by Sir Terence Arnold and Sir Geoffrey Palmer and they will report back to the attorney-general by the end of December .


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