The Minister of Defence, Wayne Mapp, has expressed his deep sympathy for the family of an SAS soldier killed in Afghanistan today.
“This morning’s loss of a New Zealand SAS soldier on operations will be mourned by all New Zealanders,” said Dr Mapp.
“Over the last few months there has been an increased tempo of the insurgency in and around Kabul. On every occasion when the SAS deploys with the Afghan Police Crisis Response Unit, there is a risk of New Zealand casualties.
“Whether they are in the cordon or supporting the assault, they are within range of insurgent attack. Every soldier, before each mission, knows of this danger. They are our elite, and serve with great bravery and courage.”
Dr Mapp said the soldier was with an SAS unit supporting the Afghan police Crisis Response Unit in Wardak province, close to Kabul. The operation was to arrest an insurgent believed to be planning an attack on Kabul.
“Today New Zealand has lost a fellow citizen, the New Zealand Defence Force has lost a comrade, and a family will be mourning the loss of a loved one,” said Dr Mapp.
“My aroha and condolences are with the family on their most difficult day.”