Afghan and Australian Security Forces Assist Civilian Casualties
20 January 2012
Afghan National Security Force personnel and Australian Special Forces moved quickly to assist a group of Afghan civilians seriously injured by insurgent rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fire during a contact in Helmand Province on 8 January 2012.
The partnered patrol was conducting a targeted counter-narcotics mission when they observed the insurgent fire impact on an occupied quala (a walled living complex).
After moving to the complex, the patrol identified four seriously injured Afghan women within the quala.
Working with their interpreters, Special Operations Task Group medics attempted to treat the women and organised a helicopter casualty evacuation.
Despite repeated offers, the women refused treatment. However, the soldiers provided a small amount of Afghan currency to cover the costs of travel to a nearby medical clinic for treatment and cancelled the medical evacuation helicopter.
After receiving the money, the women directed the soldiers to another room in the complex where they found a recently deceased child wrapped in a blanket.
The Special Operations Task Group medics assessed that the child, believed to be between five and eight years of age, was killed by the insurgent rocket propelled grenade detonation.
Having provided all of the support they could, the patrol then continued with its mission.
A post mission review of the incident confirmed that the insurgent RPG fire struck the compound and was responsible for the civilian casualties.
The announcement of this incident has been delayed pending the conclusion of the operation and the post mission review of the incident.
Media contact: Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999