Where do I start,
The inquiry will be conducted by the Army, but what frank & balanced discussion / evaluation are you after, for eight years we have been in this province dont you think that the PRT would have a better grip on what the lay of the land is & more importantly the best vehicle to suit that land?, please explain to me who in NZ has beside those people that have served there can possibly offer & frank & balance argument why they are safely tucked away back in Gods own?.
The Army made the call on the NZLAV, have you ever seen photos of the area we operate in, this is not Helmend where its flat our TAO is the same as the Southern Alps but with no infrastructure at all, most MSR are dirt tracks or in some cases river beds. Where the contact occured is goat / thar country that you see on country calendar.
Ah the Pinz yes the GS version is an outstanding vehicle but lets take a gloser look at the armoured LOV or as we call it LOV(A) - 2.5 ltr turbo diesel carrying a 5.5 ton armoured shell unloaded, now lets fit it out for a 28 day patrol, we must add ammo, food, water, spare fuel, assorted batteries for the radios, spare vehicle parts, medical equipment, soldiers gear, soldiers ammo & body armour plus 4 x soldiers & our LOV(A) is in the vicinity of 7 - 8 tons now tell me how that 2.5 ltr motor is going to cope climbing a dirt track that equvilent to climbing up Arthurs pass?.
Heart & Minds or COIN as it called now, "Who has done any REAL research on this" now let me see lets try 1RNZIR & 40 years of Low intensity conflict while based in South East Asia, deployed Malayan emergency, deployed during Confrontation with Indonesia, Conducted Combat Operations during Vietnam but applying lessons learnt during the Emergency & Confrontation, jump ahead, Kosovo & Kiwi 1 Coy same application of lessons being applied, 1998 V Coy then NZBATT 1 in East Timor applyed the same lessons & also had to relearn some of those lessons again, Solomon Islands, Tonga now what research have you done? eight years we have been in Bamiyan do you think that all we do is sit in Kiwi base & play touch, lesson 101 include all local government resources to win an insugent conflict starting with the local Governor first.
What vehicle combo would you like to see?, where we were attacked only one force can clear on hold this terrain and thats Light Infantry so the vehicle traffic can safety transit through, Iraqi lesson now being applied in Afganistan by the insurgents the bigger the Vehicle the bigger the bomb, (note Canada were losing 1 x LAV a week).
Myth busting 101, its not the locals who are attacking the PRT, these people are from another Province, they are mainly criminal elements mixed up with Talibs, they are smuggling contraband from one province to another, usually they only attack from there side of the provincial border & they know that the PRT can not follow them up, they have learnt from 16 rotations, they know our ROE forbid us from clearing them out or crossing over. So what is holding us back our mandate as laid down by Government these then lay out the ROE that the PRT must abide by, Our mandate is Nation Building & force protection not offensive combat ops you want a change in vehicles then the mandate must change first now what government in this country is going to have the balls to do that.
Lastly dont you think that after eights years we have got to know the locals & have won there trust, your say things as if we were thick, we know every leader, every clan & what they want which is peace & the right to live, there children to be educated to have safe drinking water, hospital care the basics which we take for granted. Its a criminal element / talib that is causing trouble in our TAO & there not a thing we can do about it until we catch them on our side of the border or our mandate is altered until then we will carry on.