Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rogue Afghan soldier attacks ANA and Australia soldiers; 3 dead

Australian troops are hunting for a rogue Afghan soldier who shot and wounded three diggers, just 10 days after three Australians were killed in a similar attack.

The Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier opened fire on Australian and Afghan troops using an automatic weapon and a grenade launcher while he was on duty in a guard tower at a joint patrol base at Charmistan in Uruzgan province on Tuesday afternoon (local time).

Chief of Defence David Hurley said the three wounded Australian soldiers were in a serious condition in a Kandahar hospital this morning.

Two Afghan soldiers were also wounded in the attack.

The wounded Australians were from the Mentoring Taskforce and their families have been notified, General Hurley told a press conference in Canberra this morning.

And he warned against drawing links between this attack and one in Kandahar 10 days ago, when three Australians were killed and seven more were wounded.

"There's no simple one-line explanation to this," he said.

The rogue Afghan soldier, from the ANA's 3rd Kandak [battalion], fled after the attack in an Afghan army vehicle.

Kandak members at the platoon-level Patrol Base Basir have now been disarmed, General Hurley said.

He said about nine or 10 Australian soldiers and about 30 Afghans were at the base when the attack occurred.

And he conceded that it was impossible to fully protect Australian troops from rogue Afghan soldiers.

"This a highly complex and dangerous environment and an element of risk will always exist," he said. more