Terrorist responsible for NZ deaths killed

Last updated 13:23 26/11/2012
The bodies of soldiers Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone arrive back on home soil.
NZDF Zoom
The bodies of soldiers Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone arrive back on home soil.

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A senior Taliban leader, believed to be involved in the killings of four New Zealand soldiers, was reportedly planning another attack before he was killed in air strikes.

The New Zealand Defence Force confirmed Abdullah Kalta was killed in an air strike on November 21, in Karimak, Kahmard District, North East of Bamyan.

The attack was led by US coalition forces, with the aif of Afghan forces on the ground and intelligence gathered by New Zealand's Provincial reconstruction team.

Kalta was a Taliban leader in Baghlan Province, but was responsible for a number of attacks in Bamiyan.

It was a roadside bomb in Bamiyan which killed Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Corporal Luke Tamatea and Private Richard Harris on August 19.

The Defence Force have also confirmed Kalta was involved in the killing of Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell in August 2010. 

A spokesperson said the International Security Assistance Force authorised the strike, to prevent another attack Kalta was believed to be planning.

"ISAF Command authorised the strike to prevent an imminent insurgent attack against Afghan security forces.

"Kalta, was a known insurgent active in the area between Baghlan and Bamyan Provinces for a number of years.

"He was a wanted man by the ANSF and considered a frequent threat to security in the region," the NZDF said

NZDF said it was also believed five other insurgents were killed as a result of the coalition air strike.

"This guy has killed New Zealanders before and was planning to undertake further attacks," John Key told Radio Live.

Key told TVNZ he understood it was an Afghan-led mission.

He said the strike "almost certainly" used New Zealand intelligence "but not New Zealand people".

"I would have thought our presence has certainly helped increase the probability that he was eliminated as a threat to safety and security up there," Key told the radio station.

"You have to make sure you know exactly it's the right person in the right location, that they're on the list of people etc etc."

"The main issue here is trying to make the environment safe. So if we have known insurgents who've carried out attacks that have killed people and are planning other attacks - and my understanding was  this was an example of that where there was planning for further attacks to take place - then, we are in a war zone and ultimately we need to make sure that our men and women are  as best protected as we can.

"That means using intelligence, and if required, making sure that those who would undertake those attacks aren't in a position to do so," Key earlier told TVNZ.

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