Dead soldier's family says 'pull troops out'

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 16:49 22/08/2012
Pralli Durrer
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ

FAMILY: Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer was raised by his auntie, Ani Lhamo and grandfather Jack Durrer.

Pralli Durrer
KILLED IN FIREFIGHT: Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer.

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The family of slain Christchurch solider Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer say it is time for the army to pull out of Afghanistan.

Durrer, a member of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team, was killed in a firefight after his patrol went to the aid of Afghan police in Bamiyan province on August 5.

The patrol was ambushed with anti-tank fire as it provided fire support while police tried to arrest an insurgent.

Lance Corporal Rory Malone, 26, also died, and six other Kiwi soldiers were injured.

The deaths of Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Private Richard Harris and Corporal Luke Tamatea on Sunday have brought the number of Kiwi fatalities in Afghanistan to 10.

Durrer's aunt, Ani Lhamo, who raised the 26-year-old, said the losses were ''too great'' and there was no shame in withdrawing Kiwi soldiers from Afghanistan to prevent more deaths.

Durrer and Malone, from Auckland, were due home from their first deployment to Afghanistan in October.

''These soldiers train to go to war, provide humanitarian support and to keep the peace on our behalf,'' Lhamo said.

''For a small country, these losses are too great - young people in their 20s losing their lives.''

Prime Minister John Key said it was likely that Kiwi troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan in April next year, sooner than planned.

He said the latest three deaths had not affected the timetable for withdrawal and that New Zealand would not ''cut and run''.

Lhamo said there was ''no shame'' in withdrawing to prevent further deaths.

''Obviously the Defence Force has logistical requirements to get out of Afghanistan, which means support from other nations," she said.

''However, there is no shame to cut and run, to spare lives and to not waste the optimum human life.''

Pralli's private memorial service was held last week and his remains buried in Hawke's Bay at Manutai Marae with his mother and other relatives.

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- The Press

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