Helen Clark stands by sending NZ troops to Afghanistan following 9/11 attacks

The AM Show 10/09/2021

WATCH: Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark says that joining the "war on terror" at the time was the right and only choice to make, though efforts were wildly derailed by the US invasion of Iraq.

"I don't think we could have done anything differently, and presented with that choice it's a no-brainer, right? Is it a medieval theocracy which harbours terrorists which are capable of mounting assaults anywhere in the world, or is it a country that you've got a long history of friendship with, not withstanding the row over nuclear weapons?

"I think what we did was appropriate. But as I say, you can replay the record and see the steps at which the international response could have been different in the following years, and perhaps with better results… I guess hindsight is a wonderful thing."

Clark mentioned that one of the biggest mistakes was the US led invasion into Iraq, which New Zealand was not a part of.

"Some in the George Bush Jr administration regarded [Iraq] as unfinished business from his father's time. That distracted attention away from Afghanistan, which needed long-term investment in its development to ever be secure."

20 years on and the Taliban have taken back control of Kabul, to which Clark said...

"For a number of years the Taliban have been in control for quite substantial parts of the country, but they didn't have the strength to take and hold districts and regional capitals - or Kabul itself - until the announcement of the pullout, which emboldened them. 

"In that time also, foreign terrorist groups have taken up residence in Afghanistan again and seem to pretty much have a licence to operate now." 

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