UNAMA

“Playstation helps Prince Harry be a better gunner” rates headlines – but “Torture on the rise in Afghan jails” barely rates a mention ... How come?

The answer looks easy: it is all “so yesterday’s war”. Our troops are pulling out of Afghanistan. We’ve heard all that stuff about torture and abuse of detainees before. And if Harry talks about taking a life to save a life, and how video games help him be a better helicopter pilot and gunner - well, that’s just a young man keeping some risky combat experience in perspective. Isn’t it?

New Zealand troops could be out of Afghanistan next year – but are we stumbling out of one ill-considered international military commitment straight into another, and what happens to our reconstruction and development commitment to the country our troops are leaving?

As New Zealand prepared for ANZAC Day, Prime Minister John Key made a surprise announcement: New Zealand could end its military commitment to Afghanistan as early as next year. The previous timetable – affirmed only a fortnight ago by Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman – had us leaving some time in 2014. So, what’s changed?

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp faces his final torture test this week, when UNAMA releases a critical report on mistreatment of prisoners in Afghan detention centres.

Top of Wayne Mapp’s things-to-do list before he turns in his Ministerial ticket and leaves Parliament should be the release of the findings of inquiries he instigated in August last year into the possibility that prisoners arreste

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp’s categoric denial that there were civilian casualties when New Zealand SAS troops took part in a night raid in Baghlan province is wearing thin as more evidence comes to hand from Afghanistan.

The first news of the Baghlan raid came from the governor of the Tala Wa Barfak district, Mohammad Ismael. On 22 August 2010, he told Agence France Presse: