Firing Range Was Cleared Before Afghan Children Died: NZ Defense Force

The New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) says a firing range was cleared the year before seven children died from a device allegedly left behind on a NZDF firing range in Afghanistan.

A Stuff Circuit investigation has revealed 17 civilians were either killed or injured in 2014 in connection with an unexploded ordnance left on New Zealand’s Bamyan firing ranges.

This includes seven children, aged between 5 and 12, who died in an explosion near the Beersheba Range.

But in a statement provided to Stuff prior to the publication of the story, NZDF said the firing range was cleared in 2013.

“After the NZDF PRT deployments finished in 2013, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) introduced a new standard for range clearance which was then adopted by the Afghan Directorate of Mine Action Coordination (DMAC),” the statement said.
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NZDF said the range “was cleared in October 2013 by a contractor of the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan, and was assessed as being free from landmines and explosive remnants of war.”

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