David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Inquiry into deaths not likely to be made public

Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer was killed in an exchange of fire. Photo / Supplied
Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer was killed in an exchange of fire. Photo / Supplied

The military inquiry into the firefight in Afghanistan that left two soldiers dead is unlikely to be made public, the New Zealand Defence Force says.

The inquiry into the Battle of Baghak is one of a number into deaths in New Zealand and in Afghanistan approaching completion.

The incident saw Lance Corporals Rory Malone and Pralli Durrer killed in an exchange of fire which left others wounded, including their commander, Major Craig Wilson.

The slain men were two of the five Defence Force staff to lose their lives in the mid-2012 deployment to Bamiyan province, where the New Zealand provincial reconstruction team operates.

The Herald has previously reported criticisms made of the training the troops received before they left for Afghanistan.

The NZDF has confirmed extra training was needed when the group arrived, although they were assessed as fully trained when they took over the New Zealand headquarters, called Kiwibase.

A spokesman for the Defence Force said the Court of Inquiry into the incident was almost complete. However, the full report was likely to be kept secret because it related to an "operational theatre".

He said the public would more likely get a summary of what happened and the findings rather than the detailed report "to protect operationally sensitive information that might be of value to current or future adversaries".

NZDF has previously released a Court of Inquiry report into a combat death. The inquiry into the death of Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell was released although details relating to tactics were excised.

In contrast, Australian Defence Force inquiries are detailed and include descriptions of the actions occurring during firefights - and deficiencies in training, where identified.

The NZDF has lost 34 personnel in the past decade with 20 killed in the past three years. Those killed include 10 who have died in Afghanistan during a time in which opposition in Bamiyan has become more aggressive and the SAS engaged in urban warfare.

- NZ Herald

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