Australian military suffers worst day since Vietnam

Five Australian troops were killed in two separate incidents in Afghanistan in what Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday described as the nation's deadliest day in combat since the Vietnam War.

The deaths, which included three killings in an "insider attack" by an Afghan solider, brought to 38 the number of Australian lives lost in the conflict.

"This is a very big toll... this is our single worst day in Afghanistan," said Gillard, who cut short a trip to the Pacific Islands Forum to return home and deal with the fallout.

"Indeed this is the most lost in combat since the days of the Vietnam War."

Australia's acting defence chief Air Marshal Mark Binskin said the first incident occurred inside a patrol base near Tirin Kot in the restive southern Uruzgan province where about 1,500 Australian troops are deployed.

In the second, two Australian special forces soldiers were killed when their helicopter crashed in Helmand province.

Taliban insurgents claimed to have shot the aircraft down.

"Last night in Baghran district of Helmand province mujahideen (holy warriors) shot down a big logistics helicopter during fighting. Several foreigners were killed," Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said on his Twitter account.

The Taliban regularly exaggerate their battlefield operations.

"Three Australian soldiers from the 3RAR task group were shot and killed when an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform opened fire with an automatic weapon from close range," Binskin told reporters.

The dead soldiers were aged 40, 23, and 21 and were relaxing at the end of the day when the Afghan opened fire, he added.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed his condolences over the incident.

"The attacks by Afghan security forces on foreign forces that have been happening recently, are the work of those who want to create distrust between Afghan national forces and their international allies," he said.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also offered his condolences.

The alliance has struggled to counter the so-called "green-on-blue" attacks in which uniformed Afghans turn their weapons against their international allies.

The assaults have spiked this year, with more than 30 attacks claiming the lives of 45 coalition troops, comprising about 14 percent of the overall death toll in the war for 2012, according to ISAF.

The latest deaths are the third "green-on-blue" incident involving Australian soldiers.

Gillard admitted the spate of "insider attacks" was making it difficult to build trust between Australians and the Afghans they are training.

"It is really difficult for our soldiers in the field," she said, but insisted she still had faith in the progress Australian troops were making in Afghanistan.

"Our strategy is well-defined, our strategy is constant, and we cannot allow even the most grievous of losses to change our strategy," she told reporters in the Cook Islands.

"We went there for a purpose and we will see that purpose through."

Australia is a close ally of the United States and its Afghan deployment began in 2001. Canberra later pulled out, only to redeploy in 2005.

Australia announced this year that it would begin withdrawing its forces in 2013, earlier than planned due to significant security gains and as Canberra has faced increased pressure over the long-running Afghan campaign.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandiganbayan allows Sen. Jinggoy to have his aching shoulder checked

    The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has given permission to Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada to leave detention and have his aching shoulder checked at a private hospital yesterday. "After taking into account the arguments of both parties and for humanitarian considerations, the Court resolves to grant accused-movant's prayer over the objection of the prosecution," read the Fifth Division's resolution that was issued yesterday and signed by its Chairman Roland Jurado and Associate Justices Efren …

  • Financing lack cause of slow e-vehicle program implementation

    The Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) has blamed the lack of financing for the slow implementation of the environment friendly e-vehicle program in the country. EVAP President Rommel Juan said that EVs are now available all over the Philippines because of the various  private and some local government units programs on the use of e-vehicles. We need funders, financing people or angel investors to come in and tie up with credible and reliable EV players to finally catapult …

  • Exhibit recalls Christ’s passion and death

    Now ongoing at the Palo Municipal Hall grounds is an exhibit of photographs on the passion and death of Jesus Christ. The exhibit which will run until April 6, is dubbed “Pamalandong Photo Exhibit 2015.”  It features old pictures taken during the traditional yearly re-enactment of Christ’s passion and death in the Archdiocese of Palo,  which is the center of Catholic hierarchy in Leyte and Samar. Palo Mayor Remedios L. Petilla opened the photo exhibit with Philippine Councilor League Leyte …

  • The Philippines, another Singapore?

    Bongbong Marcos makes the ludicrous claim that if his father Ferdinand hadn’t been deposed in 1986, we would now be another Singapore, prosperous and orderly. There was no way that turning the Philippines into another Singapore would be possible today, or in the 1980s. The world’s eyes are all on Singapore these days after the passing last week of that city-state’s founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew. As Singapore mourns Lee’s death, the world toasts him as a visionary who practically …

  • Armed men burn Philtranco buses in Tacloban

    Fully armed young men burned two Philtranco Bus Company buses in the Philtranco terminal in Barangay 91 Abucay midnight of March 31. Philippine National Police Eastern Visayas Regional Director Chief Supt. Asher A. Dolina has directed Tacloban City Police Director Senior Supt. Domingo Say Cabillan to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into the burning of the two commercial passenger buses. Dolina said he wants the case probed to determine if the act is part of the usual …

  • Senate to look into Sajahatra program

    Lourdes “Nancy” Binay has asked the Senate to look into the government’s Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program (SBP) - a joint social protection agenda between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which was included in a comprehensive peace agreement entered into by the two parties. Binay noted that while the SBP’s goal was to uplift and develop the health, education, and livelihood conditions of Bangsamoro communities struggling against poverty and conflict, she has been …

  • Save up for Hajj thru Islamic bank’s plan

    To help pilgrims get to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines (AIIBP) has launched the first Pilgrimage Savings Plan (PSP) in the country. Local Muslims have long been studying Malaysia's widely-successful Tabung Haji savings program, and this was the first time a similar initiative was formally introduced in the Philippines. Idiosa B. Ursolino, AIIBP vice president, presented the PSP at a recent international conference on Islamic finance and banking …

  • 8th Commodores’ Cup Regatta set

    The Saturday Afternoon Gentlemen Sailing (SAGS) Club will stage the eighth Commodores’ Cup Regatta from April 7 to 9, the Philippine Sailing Association (PSA) announced the other day. The inshore races have the blessing of Asian Yachting Grand Prix and will be supported by The Lighthouse Marina Resort, Watercraft Ventures, Inc., Standard Insurance and the Department of Tourism. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options