Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Taleban: More NZ blood will spill

The Taleban says Kiwi troops are easier targets than other Coalition forces because of their inferior weaponry.

After the New Zealand armed force's bloodiest month since November 1951, the Taleban's Zabiullah Mujahid promised more bloodshed for Kiwi troops.

"We will find them and kill them, there's no safety for them," the Afghan militia's spokesman said.

The Taleban had extensive knowledge of New Zealand weaponry and movements, he said in an authenticated telephone interview with a Herald on Sunday correspondent in Kabul.

"We know ... which kinds of weapons and ammunition they have. We know that the New Zealanders do not have strong weapons like the Americans or British, but if they had it wouldn't matter for us."

The grandfather of slain Christchurch soldier Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer said he was not worried about Kiwi soldiers having inferior weapons.

Jack Durrer said: "They have weapons to fight. They do not fire first, but they can fire. And if they get into trouble they can call for the Americans to help. And they would come to help as quickly as possible."

The Prime Minister has said Kiwi troops will be pulled out of the war-ravaged country earlier, after five deaths in two weeks.

But Durrer said Kiwi troops should stay the course in Afghanistan.

"The Kiwi soldiers are helping Afghan people, they are not fighting," he said. "Pralli did not die looking for a fight. I think we try to give them freedom."

Mujahid is thought to be a pseudonym used by several different spokesmen, who operate close to the Pakistan border. He said forces were well aware they were targeting Kiwi forces. "Yes we knew our target was New Zealand forces, because they are with our enemy and the others who came to our country with guns and weapons.

"We are killing the New Zealanders because they are helping the Americans. They have come to kill and arrest our people.

"For this we have a duty to attack them, but we do not have any other enmity towards the people of New Zealand."

The Taleban said that the families of deceased families should pressure the Government to pull out of Afghanistan.

"The families of those killed should tell the Government of New Zealand not to send soldiers to kill Afghans, because this fight does not belong to New Zealand. This is an American fight and they have persuaded other countries to become involved.

"The families of those killed should tell their Government to stop fighting, otherwise we will send more bodies of soldiers back to New Zealand."

The Herald on Sunday contacted a Taleban spokesman through Daily Telegraph Afghanistan correspondent Ben Farmer, who has been reporting from Kabul since 2008.

- Herald on Sunday

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