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Afghan Rogue Attack: Three Victims Named …

  • October 31st, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

afghan-ashley-birt.jpgThree Australian soldiers were killed, along with an Afghan interpreter, and seven Australians wounded, 29.10.11, when a man in Afghan army uniform fired on them during a parade

The incident, in which the gunman also was killed, took place at a forward patrol base.

The Australian troops were part of the mentoring taskforce training the 4th Brigade of the Afghan National Army, which had been moving beyond its usual field of operations in Oruzgan province, into Northern Kandahar.

The Australians killed were, pictured right to left, Captain Bryce Duffy, 26, originally from Sydney; Lance Corporal Luke Gavin, 27, also Sydney, and Corporal Ashley Birt, 22, from Nambour.

Taliban insurgents facing intense counter-insurgency pressure in the field have been resorting to crime or terrorist acts, including such strikes from within the expanding ranks of the Afghan forces.

At the end of May another Australian, Lance Corporal Andrew Gordon Jones, 28, was killed at a patrol base North of the Australian headquarters at Tarin Kowt.

It could not be confirmed that the man had acted under instructions from the Taliban; he was tracked to a village and died in a confrontation with allied troops. (See EUAustralia Online, “Details on soldier deaths”, 2.6.11).
A statement from the Australian Defence Department, 31.10.11, said the losses on the weekend were deeply regretted, and planning had begun for the repatriation of the fallen Australian soldiers.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said the Commitment of troops under a NATO command structure in Afghanistan, would be unchanged.

“We cannot judge the progress of our mission by this one dreadful incident”, she said.

The Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, said progress was being recorded with mentoring and training, but time would be needed to deal with the effects of the latest attack.

“This obviously deals a shattering blow in terms of confidence,” the Minister said.

Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union High Representative, visiting Australia, extended condolences.

“We stand with Australia in recognising the vital work of your service men and women in Afghanistan,” she told a Canberra media conference.

Reference

Australian Department of Defence, Canberra, “Three Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan”, 31.10.11. http://www.defence.gov.au/defencenews/stories/2011/oct/1031.htm, (31.10.11).

Pictures  DoD

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