Australia — Internal Assessment into Operational Incident in Afghanistan Completed

An inter­nal assess­ment into the facts sur­round­ing an oper­a­tional inci­dent in Afghanistan in which an Afghan man was shot and killed in the Baluchi Val­ley region has been com­plet­ed.

The inter­nal review con­duct­ed by Defence deter­mined that the Aus­tralian sol­diers involved in the inci­dent adhered to the Rules of Engage­ment.

Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group sol­diers were con­duct­ing a recon­nais­sance mis­sion dur­ing the evening of 23 August when the inci­dent occurred.

The sol­diers were approached by a man car­ry­ing a machine gun.

The man was with­in 30 metres of the patrol when he was chal­lenged to stop in the local Pash­tu lan­guage. The man ini­tial­ly stopped in response to being chal­lenged, but then pro­ceed­ed to take a fur­ther step for­ward.

He was chal­lenged a sec­ond time to stop. He again took a fur­ther step for­ward, but then raised his weapon at the mem­bers of the patrol. He was shot and killed.

The next day, infor­ma­tion was received that the man was not an insur­gent but the son of a local elder. A Shu­ra (meet­ing) was called and the inci­dent was sub­se­quent­ly dis­cussed. Con­do­lences were passed to the elder and these were accept­ed.

The inter­nal review con­duct­ed into the sol­diers’ actions deter­mined that the sol­diers respond­ed law­ful­ly to the sit­u­a­tion con­fronting them. The review fur­ther found that their actions were in accor­dance with their rules of engage­ment and a legit­i­mate act of self-defence.

This inci­dent reflects the com­plex and dan­ger­ous envi­ron­ment the Aus­tralian and Coali­tion sol­diers oper­ate in.

The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Mar­shal Angus Hous­ton, referred to the find­ings of this inter­nal review at Sen­ate Esti­mates on 19 Octo­ber (see page 50, For­eign Affairs, Defence and Trade Com­mit­tee Hansard).

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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