Important new information strengthens Hit and Run case
20 June 2019
Hit & Run co-author Jon Stephenson has released new information on the 2010 SAS raid in Afghanistan that killed and injured 21 civilians.
Jon has learned from insurgent leaders that two of them (and bodyguards) were staying in the village of Naik on the night of the raid, but slipped away without being caught when the NZSAS-led forces arrived.
Most important for the New Zealand inquiry: the insurgents say that none of the people killed and injured that night were insurgents. This is further confirmation that all 21 casualties were civilians.
This is a useful step forward in establishing the truth of what occurred on the raid.
NZDF has argued that there were “numerous armed insurgents” in the villages and that all the people the NZSAS-led forces killed were insurgents. This new information suggests there were indeed two insurgents, but it confirms the book's key allegation that it was civilians who were killed and injured that night.
A small number of insurgents were in the village of Naik and slipped away without being caught or killed by the SAS. This is new information.
Nearly all the civilian casualties occurred in the neighbouring village of Khak Khuday Dad.
The attacks that injured and killed all the women and children had already happened earlier in the raid before the SAS troops got anywhere near the house in neighbouring village from which the insurgents had escaped. The insurgents had escaped in a direction away from, not towards, the village where most of the civilian casualties occurred.
The book says that two of the villagers killed during the raid, Mohammad Iqbal and Abdul Qayoom, were the father and brother of one of insurgents but that they themselves were not insurgents. Now the insurgents themselves have confirmed this.
Jon's villager sources came from the village of Khak Khuday Dad and had told him as we researched the book that they knew nothing about insurgents being in the area. It is not clear whether they were aware the three insurgents had been in the other village.