The Herald reports:
The SAS is to be withdrawn from Afghanistan on schedule in March, the Government announced yesterday – but the move was met with Opposition calls to ensure they are never deployed again.
Never ever ever ever ever again.
Prime Minister John Key confirmed the Special Air Service troops would be returning to New Zealand after two and a half years working alongside the Afghan Crisis Response Unit in the capital, Kabul.
And they have made a difference.
Mr Goff said he welcomed the decision on the SAS, but it had to be long term – not simply a break between deployments.
“That does not mean he won’t redeploy them in six months or a year’s time. That’s a question Mr Key won’t answer. What is important is to seek a commitment that they won’t be sent back there.
Of course Key won’t give guarantees for years into the future. It’s called the responsibility of being in office, as opposed to stupid opposition.
Mr Goff said the Labour Government deployed the SAS to combat al-Qaeda and international terrorism. The Afghan conflict was now more in the nature of civil war and President Hamid Karzai’s regime did not have the support of the people.
Asked what circumstances might warrant a redeployment, Mr Goff said there would have to be clear evidence Afghanistan was being used to host international terrorism.
“I don’t think there are likely to be circumstances that would warrant a redeployment of our troops there.”
Except of course Labour do support NZ troops being in Afghanistan. They support the PRT continuing its work there.
This is just like the hypocrisy Labour had over Iraq – attacking National for potentially sending troops there, while ignoring Labour did send troops to Iraq.