Three Australian soldiers have been killed and two wounded following an insider attack at Patrol Base Wahab in the Baluchi Valley region of Uruzgan.
The attack occurred during the evening of 29 August, 2012 (Afghan time) inside the confines of the Patrol Base.
Acting Chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin said early reports indicate a lone individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform fired a weapon into a group of Australian soldiers from close range before fleeing the Patrol Base on foot.
“Five soldiers were hit in the burst of automatic fire,” Air Marshal Binskin said.
“Their comrades made every effort to revive the three soldiers, but their wounds were fatal.”
One of the five soldiers was seriously wounded in the attack while another sustained minor wounds as a result of the shooting.
Air Marshal Binskin extended his condolences to the families and friends of the soldiers on behalf of the Minister for Defence, the Chief of the Defence Force, the Chief of Army and the Defence community.
“I cannot begin to describe the overwhelming grief that their families are experiencing but I want them to know that Army and the ADF community share their anguish and we will continue to support them and care for them,” Air Marshal Binskin said.
“This is a terrible day for all and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected by this incident.”
All five soldiers were members of the 3 RAR Task Group tasked with mentoring the 4th Brigade, 205 Corps in Uruzgan.
All five soldiers were normally based at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera in Queensland.
Defence has notified the families of the soldiers and Defence personnel continue to provide support to them during this difficult period.
“At this time we are focused on supporting the soldiers’ families and their comrades and ensuring the wounded soldiers receive the best possible medical treatment.”
Of the three soldiers killed, one was a 40 year old Lance Corporal posted to the 2/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry). He was on his second tour to Afghanistan and had previously deployed to Iraq.
The second soldier was a 23 year old Private posted to the 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment and the third soldier was a 21 year old Sapper posted to the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment. Both were on their first operational deployment.
A security operation to apprehend the perpetrator is now underway.
Air Marshal Binskin said the motive for the attack in unknown at this time.
“A team from the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service is moving to the site and an ISAF investigatory team is also reviewing the incident,” Air Marshal Binskin said.
“At this stage the focus of our efforts is on providing support to the families, friends and comrades of those affected by the shooting and doing everything we can to apprehend the perpetrator.
“Our primary concern in Afghanistan is the safety and security of our Australian Defence Force members.”
ADF personnel in Uruzgan were already operating at a level of force protection beyond ISAF requirements.
As a result of this incident all Australian personnel, in cooperation with Afghan Commanders, have adopted enhanced force protection measures including additional security while an initial investigation into the shooting is underway.
This incident is not related to the helicopter crash in Helmand province in which two Australian Commandos were killed when an ISAF helicopter crashed during a partnered mission
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999