Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

No SAS to Iraq says Prime Minister John Key

John Key has ruled out sending the SAS to join New Zealand's contribution to the fight against Isis. Photo / Getty
John Key has ruled out sending the SAS to join New Zealand's contribution to the fight against Isis. Photo / Getty

Prime Minister John Key today ruled out sending the SAS to join New Zealand's contribution to the fight against Isis as requested by United States Secretary of Defence Ash Carter last year.

Mr Carter sent a letter to all countries already participating in the fight in Iraq and Syria asking them to increase their contribution and consider sending special forces - Australia and the United States have deployed special forces.

"I think we can pretty categorically rule out special forces at this time in terms of that Ash Carter letter that we received," Mr Key said at his post cabinet press conference.
"We don't see that fitting in with what we are doing."

Cabinet is expected to receive a report next month reviewing the deployment of troops to Camp Taji in a joint training mission with Australia.

"I think our starting position would be to say it has been very successful and we see real progress being made."

The Iraqi troops New Zealand had helped to train had helped to take Ramadi and the Iraqi Government had retaken about 40 per cent of territory it had previously lost to Isis.

He said sending the SAS would not fit with what the Iraqi Government wanted.

"I'm not exactly sure what the Americans would want them to do but the Iraqi Government, Prime Minister Al-Abadi was quite clear with me, that's not what they want.

They want their troops trained and they actually want to fight their own battles."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 27 May 2017 21:21:46 Processing Time: 435ms