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Time for English to take action on SAS raid

Bill English needs to show leadership and order an independent inquiry to clear up doubts and confusion over the SAS raid that looks to have caused civilian casualties, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.

"The original allegations are serious enough and since then the Defence Force has confirmed some aspects and denied others, and a former Defence Minister has all but confirmed there were civilian casualties.

"For the sake of public confidence we need to have certainty over the facts of this matter.

“There’s just too much at stake here – the reputation of our highly regarded military and our international reputation are on the line while there remains so much contradictory evidence over the 2010 Afghanistan operation.

“Bill English says he’s still awaiting further advice, ten days after the Hit and Run book was launched – that’s just not good enough when the stakes are so high.

“I agree with the Defence Minister at the time, Wayne Mapp, who said this week that as a nation we owe it to ourselves to find out if civilian casualties did occur on our watch.

“There needs to be an independent inquiry to get to the bottom of the mounting questions.

“There’s everything to be gained from clearing this issue up once and for all. If the Prime Minister fails to order an inquiry, then suspicion will remain and that will only damage the reputation of our fine soldiers and our country,” says Andrew Little.