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[OS] AFGHANISTAN/NEW ZEALAND/MIL - Two in three New Zealanders want special forces out of Afghanistan: poll

Released on 2012-07-30 00:00 GMT

Email-ID 2088038
Date 2011-08-01 03:27:36
all 38 of them, what blow that would be. [clint]

Two in three New Zealanders want special forces out of Afghanistan: poll 2011-08-01 06:31:42 FeedbackPrintRSS

WELLINGTON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Nearly two thirds of New Zealanders want
the country's special forces to come home after they finish their current
tour of duty in Afghanistan, a poll revealed Monday.

The New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll survey found 63.3 percent of respondents
wanted the country's Special Air Service forces out of Afghanistan, while
23.1 percent thought they should remain beyond March next year, while the
rest said they did not know.

The 38 SAS troops are based in Kabul and have been training and mentoring
the Afghan Crisis Response Unit, which responds to incidents including
terrorist attacks.

Last month the New Zealand SAS intervened in a three-hour gunfight with
Taliban fighters who attacked the home of Jan Mohammed Khan, a close
adviser to President Hamid Karzai, and in June, they helped fight off an
attack at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has said that the force needed to come
home to "regroup" and spend time in New Zealand, but a spokesman for Key
told the New Zealand Herald only that Key' s "expectation" was they would
return in March, the newspaper reported Monday.

Key has also said that some members of the SAS had wanted to stay on in
Afghanistan beyond March.

New Zealand's opposition Labour and Green parties have called for the SAS
troops to return, saying they are helping a regime that had lost the
confidence of the Afghan people.

Other New Zealand forces are serving as a provincial reconstruction team
in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province, and will be gradually withdrawn by

The New Zealand SAS Group, formed in 1955, is an elite combat unit of the
New Zealand Defence Force tasked with counter- terrorism and difficult
overseas operations.

Clint Richards
Strategic Forecasting Inc.
c: 254-493-5316