Skip to comments.Woman among three New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghan blast
Posted on 08/27/2012 2:09:04 PM PDT by archy
Woman among three New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghan blast
New Zealand prime minister John Key vowed not to "cut and run" from Afghanistan after three New Zealand soldiers, including a woman, were killed in a huge roadside bomb blast.
The New Zealand Defence Force says the soldiers were in the last vehicle of a convoy that was hit by an improvised explosive device in north-east Bamyan Province.
Mr Key has named the three soldiers as Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Private Richard Harris, and Corporal Luke Tametea.
Lance Corporal Baker, a medic, is New Zealand's first female casualty in Afghanistan.
Photo: New Zealand's Defence Force has named the three soldiers killed (Supplied: NZDF) The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which happened north-west of the town of Do Abe, where another two New Zealand soldiers were killed two weeks ago.
Speaking this morning Mr Key said New Zealand, which has suffered a total of 10 deaths in Afghanistan, was looking at withdrawing its 145-member provincial reconstruction team in Bamyan in early 2013, rather than late 2013 as originally planned.
Mr Key said discussions about an early exit began before August 4, when two soldiers were killed and six wounded in what has been the bloodiest month for New Zealand troops since they deployed in 2003.
"That date, if we confirm that, which we would want to do in the next few weeks, is not something that's changed as a result of these five tragic deaths," he told Radio New Zealand.
He said there had been increased insurgent activity recently in north-east Bamyan and New Zealand would not "cut and run" before handing over to local authorities.
"It's neither practical, nor sensible, nor right for us just to abandon and cut and run today," he said.
"That wouldn't honour those 10 deaths, it wouldn't mark the enormous amount of work that we've put into Afghanistan and it just isn't the way that New Zealand operates on the international stage.
"The three brave soldiers paid the ultimate price for their selfless work and my thoughts are with their families and friends as they mourn their loved ones," he said.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the latest attack.
Mr Key said the attack came in the context of a growing insurgency in the Bamyan area, fuelled by a new bomb-making cell operating from a nearby province.
New Zealand's Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, said he was deeply saddened by the latest deaths.
"On behalf of the entire New Zealand Defence Force, I extend my deepest sympathies to the families, colleagues and friends of the personnel involved," he said.
Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae called the latest incident a "great tragedy".
"The soldiers were part of New Zealand's Provincial Reconstruction Team, which for many years has worked tirelessly to bring peace and security to the lives of the people of Bamyan province," he said.
"Their service has brought great credit to New Zealand and the New Zealand Defence Force."
Another 'green on blue' killing Elsewhere in Afghanistan, an Afghan in police uniform shot and killed a NATO soldier in the south of the country on Sunday, taking the death toll from so-called 'green on blue' attacks this year to 40.
The spike in insider attacks is causing growing concern in the United States and among its NATO allies fighting the Taliban insurgency.
"An International Security Assistance Force service member died when an individual wearing an Afghan Uniformed Police uniform turned his weapon against ISAF service members in southern Afghanistan today," ISAF said.
The incident took place in the police headquarters of Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province, provincial government spokesman Jaweed Faisal said.
NATO does not disclose the number of wounded in any attacks, but a provincial official said another soldier and an interpreter were injured and that the shooter was killed by return fire.
The latest death takes the toll among international coalition soldiers from insider attacks to 10 in less than two weeks, sharply eroding trust between foreign troops and the Afghans they work with.
Two American soldiers were killed in an incident on Friday, a week after six were killed in a single day on August 10. Another NATO soldier was killed three days earlier.
The green on blue toll makes up 13 per cent of all international coalition deaths this year, according to figures from NATO and a tally of total deaths kept by the icasualties.org website.
In a sign of US concern, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta called Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Saturday, urging him to crack down on the incidents.
Underscoring the security threat, US soldiers in Afghanistan last week were ordered to carry loaded weapons with them at all times, on and off base.
Topics: unrest-conflict-and-war, defence-and-national-security, defence-forces, afghanistan, new-zealand, asia, pacific
First posted Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:16am AEST
The Prime Minister has released the names of the two soldiers and a medic killed in an incident in the north east of Bamyan Province, Afghanistan on Sunday 19 August.
They are CPL Luke Tamatea, aged 31, LCPL Jacinda Baker, aged 26, and PTE Richard Harris, aged 21.
They deployed with the NZ Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan, Afghanistan in April 2012. All three were from 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (2/1 RNZIR) based in Burnham.
CPL Luke Douglas Tamatea joined the NZ Army in February 2000 and was posted to 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1 RNZIR) in Linton. He deployed to Timor-Leste in 2001, to Solomon Islands in 2003 and to Sumatra to help with the tsunami in 2005. CPL Tamatea had also previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2007. He was posted to 2/1 RNZIR in 2007. CPL Tamatea was promoted to LCPL in September 2005 and to CPL in June 2008.
LCPL Jacinda Francis Elyse Baker joined the NZ Army as a medic and was posted to Burnham Regional Support Company in April 2007. LCPL Baker was posted to 2/1 RNZIR in December 2007, and deployed to Solomon Islands in 2010. LCPL Baker received a Chief of Army Commendation in 2011 for her professionalism and courage during Exercise Southern Warrior in June 2008. LCPL Baker was promoted to LCPL in July 2008.
PTE Richard Lee Harris joined the NZ Army in February 2009 and was posted to 2/1 RNZIR. PTE Harris had previously deployed to Timor-Leste in 2009/2010.
The families of CPL Tamatea, LCPL Baker, and PTE Harris are preparing statements and these will be released in due course.
Ever since Obama was elected the female US military casualties are non-stories; somebody told me over 100 have been killed in US uniform in Iraq/Afghanistan. I remember years ago it was 33; maybe they have passed 100.
Don’t expect to see it in the news, though...unless Romney wins.
The war in Afganistan is a complete disaster. The whole set up is down the tubes and 0bama gets no blame or tough questions from the media whatsoever.
“The whole set up is down the tubes and 0bama gets no blame or tough questions from the media whatsoever.”
While Bush II owns the initial attack, Obama owns the “surge” (and he can’t hide from that).
Wow. Thank you for posting that video. What a moving send off for their fallen brothers and sister. Tears in my eyes...
Actually it's going exactly as planned by our CINC. He had no intention of winning a war against his co-religionists. The lives of our military mean nothing to him other than as props.