Satellite imagery obtained by the Herald shows that villages pictured in the book Hit & Run are the locations where Operation Burnham took place.

A new NZ Herald interactive details the geographic location in which the authors of the book and the New Zealand Defence Force argued where the infamous Operation Burnham took place in Afghanistan.

Last week the NZDF confirmed the photos in the book were in fact the same location where the mission took place.

Tomorrow it will be one year since the book was released by journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson.


The book details a New Zealand Special Air Service-led raid on two isolated villages in Afghanistan in search of fighters they suspected were responsible for the death of a New Zealand soldier.

None of the fighters were found and by the end of the raid 21 civilians were dead or wounded, most of whom were children and women, including a three-year-old girl who was killed.

Hit & Run originally identified that Operation Burnham took place in Naik and Khak Khuday Dad, two villages in the Tirgiran Valley.

The week after the book's release, Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Tim Keating released a statement saying "The central premise of Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson's book, Hit & Run, is incorrect ..."

"NZDF troops never operated in the two villages identified in the book as having been the scene of combat operations and civilian casualties," Keating said.

He went on to confirm that an Operation Burnham did take place, but in "Tirgiran village", 2km south of the locations identified in Hit & Run.

Hager and Stephenson conceded they got the locations wrong, but insisted their eyewitness accounts were from the villages where Operation Burnham took place.

They say that "Naik" and "Khak Khuday Dad" were the local names for the villages on either side of the valley, and that "Tirgiran" referred to the valley rather than any village.


NZDF finally came to the same conclusion, 352 days after first claiming that "NZDF troops never operated in the two villages identified in the book".