New Zealand Troops Paraded Dead Bodies In Afghanistan, Says Report

New Zealand is often incorrectly identified as a beacon of peace, freedom, and democratic ideals, yet on a small but very concrete scale, the country continues to support and engage in many of the same horrifying wartime policies of the Bush and Obama eras.

By: /ANTIMEDIA  Despite the fact that New Zealand’s government downplays its military’s role in Afghanistan, more and more reports are surfacing detailing how New Zealand troops have been terrorizing local Afghans and engaging in criminal behavior.

A new report by the New Zealand-based team of journalists known as Stuff Circuit claims that in 2004, New Zealand forces appeared at a village in Baghak, Afghanistan, and accused locals of being members of the Taliban.

According to witnesses, after the Taliban was overthrown in 2001, life was actually relatively peaceful in this village. That is, of course, up until New Zealand troops, part and parcel of the American-led war in Afghanistan, arrived at the village some years later. This line of thinking was confirmed in a recent article by the Intercept, which alleges that the Taliban had surrendered multiple times but the American military presence continued to rebuff the Taliban’s cause because a surrender wasn’t good enough for the Bush administration, which wanted “total annihilation.”

According to the report, the villagers were intrigued by the military presence and went closer to see what was happening but were met with a barrage of insults.

“And then they started insulting people and using foul language, saying: ‘You are Taliban and you are helping the Taliban,’” the report states.

The New Zealand troops reportedly insulted women and the elderly before saying:

“You guys are Taliban and we will come back again tomorrow…We haven’t finished with you.’”

According to the report, that night there was a battle outside the village between New Zealand troops and Taliban fighters, and the next day six New Zealand vehicles came back with dead bodies tied to the front of their trucks. The Afghan bodies were then dumped in the local bazaar, and more than a dozen locals were reportedly tied up at gunpoint.

“They held me by my arms and flexi-cuffed my hands behind my back and sat me facing the wall. One guy was guarding me, pointing his gun at me saying ‘Don’t turn your face,’” one villager told Staff Circuit“I was thinking that they will take me to their tank and will take me away.”

One villager reportedly said:

“We want them to be punished for how brutal they were to us. We hadn’t done anything… and everything that happened to us was sudden and unjustified.”

New Zealand troops have been based in Afghanistan since 2001, and as such, their role has always had an air of secrecy about it. Former Green Party politician Keith Locke stated:

“The default position of the New Zealand Defence Force and the Government was to tell [the public] absolutely nothing, and to tell MPs [Members of Parliament] like myself absolutely nothing.”

According to the report, Locke asked the government some basic questions regarding troop levels and “got a blank on all those questions. I went to the Ombudsman and he said, ‘Oh, well, there’s an exception for national security and you can’t hear about that because of national security reasons.’”

The problem for New Zealand is that this new report casts doubt on the official story regarding how a glorified serviceman received the Victoria Cross (New Zealand’s only recipient), which was based on a claim that New Zealand troops were attacked by insurgents. In reality, it may have been the case that New Zealand troops directly attempted to draw the conflict out by antagonizing the locals — as opposed to being innocently attacked by insurgents.

Paula Penfold, one of the journalists who worked on the report, said official reports on these conflicts were incorrect:

“When we went to the Shikari Valley – which the NZ military investigators never did do – and we talked the Afghan soldiers – which again, the Court of Inquiry didn’t do – we found the conclusion reached by our Court of Inquiry was wrong.”

The families of New Zealand soldiers who died in the Baghak conflict are now justifiably asking questions and demanding answers about what actually took place during this period.

The latest report isn’t the first report to rock New Zealand’s political scene in relation to its deployment in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, New Zealand-based investigative journalist Nicky Hager broke a story regarding potential war crimes committed by New Zealand forces in Afghanistan, and Anti-Media interviewed him about his findings in April.

New Zealand is often incorrectly identified as a beacon of peace, freedom, and democratic ideals, yet on a small but very concrete scale, the country continues to support and engage in many of the same horrifying wartime policies of the Bush and Obama eras.

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