As the first New Zealand troops prepare to deploy to Iraq, the first pictures have emerged of them training to deal with what might go wrong there.
It’s such a dangerous mission that the New Zealand Defence Force is being deliberately vague, leaving reporters to rely on detailed information coming from the Australians.
But when it comes to vague – the governments of both countries have something in common. Neither their Defence Minister, nor our Prime Minister, can name of the leader of our number one enemy – the most wanted man in the world.
Pictures of New Zealand soldiers training with Australia for the Iraq mission were taken last week in Brisbane. Twenty-six New Zealand troops and 59 Australians left Brisbane airport for the Middle East this afternoon, Channel 7 reports.
Although the New Zealand Government won’t confirm that, they say it’s officially a secret.
“Some are going to be leaving relatively soon, but for security reasons the advice we’ve had from Defence is to not say exactly when,” says John Key.
It’s certainly not a secret in Australia – Prime Minister Tony Abbott called a press conference to announce today’s departure. The Australian Department of Defence has even released footage and interviews of our troops training.
New Zealand troops will be based at Camp Taji, 30 kilometres north of Baghdad, where troops will be at the base by May.
“It’s going to be staged, we’re sending people over at a series of times,” says Mr Key.