The latest shooting of three Australian and two Afghan soldiers by a disgruntled Afghan comrade will intensify calls for our 1550 troops to be withdrawn immediately.

Disarming the Afghans is out of the question. Photo: Herald Sun

Details of the incident are sketchy, but given that the shooter escaped in a vehicle it is safe to assume that he was not a jihadist fanatic on a one-way suicide mission.

That was certainly not the case 10 days ago when an Afghan called Darwish opened fire at close range at Forward Operating Base Pacemaker in northern Kandahar Province killing Captain Bryce Duffy, 26, Corporal Ashley Birt, 22, and Lance Corporal Luke Gavin, 27.

Darwish had shaved and cleansed his body and dressed in white clothing to prepare for his journey into the next life following his murderous mission.

This latest attack is reminiscent of the first shooting of an Australian, Lance Corporal Andrew Jones, 25, at Patrol Base Mashal in the Chora Valley in late May this year. That also involved a rogue Afghan National Army soldier who fled and who was eventually hunted down and killed. Like yesterday’s shooting that killer also opened fire from a guard tower.

Given the firepower available to ANA troops, especially those on guard duty in a watch tower, it is remarkable that yesterday’s five casualties did not sustain life threatening wounds. They were transferred quickly from the Charmestan area east of the main base back to the role-two field hospital at Tarin Kowt for emergency treatment.

The big problem now for Defence is devising a strategy that will appease those calling for an immediate withdrawal while maintaining a meaningful training mission in Oruzgan Province.

Disarming the Afghans is out of the question.

Guns are a part of the cultural landscape in the war ravaged country and an Afghan soldier without a gun would not even be a man. He would be at the mercy of insurgents and he would be open to ridicule.

Having seen undisciplined Afghan soldiers waving weapons around like toys it is amazing that more soldiers have not been shot accidentally.

If any evidence emerges that insurgent “sleepers’’ are being used for the attacks then the military will have a major problem.

There is no such evidence and it will fall to the well trained and diplomatic diggers on the ground at each of the dozen or more shared bases across the province to come up with strategies to protect themselves from “friendly fire’’ incidents.

The bottom line is that when a man who is part of the team decides for whatever reason that he is going to turn on his comrades, there is little anyone can do.

Self protection measures will be boosted and troops will probably find themselves wearing helmets and body armour 24/7 even when they are inside ``safe’’ locations.

Apart from that all they can do is maintain a vigilant eye on those we are there to help remembering that the vast majority are on our side.

Most commented


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    • Mahhrat says:

      09:39am | 09/11/11

      It just goes to show the quality of the training provided our own soldiers that this stuff so rarely happens at home.

    • Dave says:

      10:28pm | 09/11/11

      What the? Its got nothing to do with training. No digger would do that to another. Your post is the first time Ive even thought of the idea. Whatever causes this its probably more of a cultural/honour thing going on. And dont forget, the unfortunate truth is that Afghanistan is a country divided along many faultlines and Afghanis have always shown a willingness to kill people on other side of those divides. How much easier then to lose it with our guys, who are even bigger outsiders than the various tribes/religions what have you. It would be interesting to know how many honour style fights and killings go on amongst the ANA guys because dont forget these guys have shot other Afghanis in these last 2 rampages too, and ANA guys have been among the casualties when this has happened to NATO forces in Afghanistan in the past.

    • RB says:

      10:37pm | 10/11/11

      Refer “Selous Scouts”.

    • John B says:

      09:41am | 09/11/11

      Ian McPhedran says… “when a man who is part of the team decides for whatever reason that he is going to turn on his comrades, there is little anyone can do.” Is that right?.. Hey genius… you could ask, Why?

    • Dolly says:

      10:28am | 09/11/11

      Sure, you can ask them why they did it (if they’re caught or still alive themselves), but it seems as though that would be a case of too little too late if they’ve already opened fire.

    • MarkS says:

      10:35am | 09/11/11

      Once is bad luck, twice coincidence, three times enemy action. This is the third time, it is proof of a sleeper insurgency until proven otherwise. Our soldiers should act accordingly.

    • Gary says:

      11:40am | 09/11/11

      MarkS impossible to tell whether it’s a sleeper or someone who was talked into doing it. Depends on the time frame of when their mentality regarding it came about.

    • Mark G says:

      12:17pm | 09/11/11


      except the first you are not looking at the fact that the first was more than likely a soldier that snapped rather than an insurgent. The second had been in the ANA for three years and had fought alongside other ANA soldiers (ie killing insurgents) that whole time. The is yet to be an attack by an ANA soldier who has been found to have clear links to the Taliban in any way.

    • Matt says:

      12:25pm | 09/11/11

      I see little distinction between the two Gary.

      I mean I see the difference, but what difference does that really mean to the people who get shot or the risks involved in being there?

      Let’s at least acknowledge the obvious facts, that support for the West is not uninanimous among the Afghan army. For every person that goes so far to turn and murder comrades they have trained with, how many are sitting there discontent and offering lip service support only?

    • John B says:

      12:56pm | 09/11/11

      Hello… Dolly: 11:28am | 09/11/11
      Just goes to show how carefully some people read these days… I didn’t actually say… you could ask “the shooter why”... I simply said… you could ask “Why?”. Ok.. here’s a few examples… Why are there possible insurgents?... Why are we actually over there? Stuff like that!

    • mick e mause says:

      01:04pm | 09/11/11

      saw some idiot general saying how he didnt think the shootings were linked! What! woops duck their goes another flying pig! get them out now the stupid arse yanks started this rubbish the same as Iraq. Just the daylights out of any training camps that start up.

    • Marilyn Shepherd says:

      01:39pm | 09/11/11

      Here is a reality check for the war mongers.  The Afghans do not want us in their country, we are illegally occupying their country and slaughtering their civilians in the thousands.

      They are entitled to shoot our soldiers, as we are entitled to shoot theirs.

      We are “training” Afghans to murder other Afghans and arming them in the process.

      Stupid is as stupid does but this is as stupid as anything I have ever come across.

    • Matt says:

      06:28pm | 09/11/11

      Yeah good on you Marilyn Shepherd. Obviously well thought out reply there. If we were there just to slaughter the civilians we’d have wiped them off the face off the earth with the push of a few buttons. There is far more going on behind the scenes than you realise and it certainly isn’t “slaughtering civilians”. I bet my left nut you blame the US for September the 11th as well? Bad foreign policy perhaps? No deary, just plain old terrorism with nobody to blame but Al Qaeda .Before you say the Afghans don’t want us in their country how about asking them? I have a number of mates who have served in Afghanistan and the locals were very happy they were there. Sadly it was because they mainly see the West as a cash cow they can make money from but regardless many are happy the west is there. Particularly women. Aren’t you a woman? Hmmm, you’d probably love to be locked up all day and treated like sh*t by Taliban supporters…

    • Little Joe says:

      06:11am | 10/11/11

      @ Marilyn Shepherd

      Here is a reality check ..... many Afghans do want us in their country, girls go to school, they have their own media ..... and we are not slaughtering their civilians in the thousands.

      Despite what you think there are rules of war. We are training Afghans to defend their country and to prevent the murder other Afghanis.

      If you want to know what is really stupid, it is when a father will send one son to join the Afghani Army and another to join the Taliban.

      Unfortunately and sadly the winning this war will not be measured by peace in Afganistan, but how many aeroplanes are bought down by torrorists, how many bombs are set off in European train stations, how many armed insurgencies occur in the subcontinent and how many nightclubs in Asia are bombed

    • DBK says:

      03:04pm | 10/11/11

      @ Marilyn Shepherd, statements that rely solely upon emotive, un-founded argument, are a waste of time. We are NOT over there “Slaughtering their civilians in the thousands”. You want to talk about those doing the slaughtering, go and have a chat to the insurgents. I saw the smoke pall rise over the women’s and children’s health clinic that was bombed in Tarin Kot township on 28 July of this year. That explosion was not a coalition plane bombing locals. Nor was it coalition (including ANA) military conducting an assault on the town. It was a locally based Taliban insurgent who faked a breakdown and conned other locals to help him push the car up to the front of that medical clinic - where he detonated the device as he walked away. Many locals do want the assistance. I have had the chance to talk to them and discuss this. When was the last time you talk a walk in the Chora, Mirabad or Baluchi valleys?? We are dealing with a proud group of peoples - yes a ‘Group of Peoples’. They will all acknowledge that their are divisions along tribal and familial lines. It may have been this way for centuries, but many of the poorest want this to change. Do you openly condone the actions of the Taliban whilst in power? The virtual enslavement of women, denial of medical treatment and education for females, Sharia courts that handed down paternalistic rulings that saw women killed for the crimes of men? Do you condone the Taliban support for terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, through provision of training camps and a degree of ‘State Sponsorship’? I don’t like wars, I don’t like the idea of pulling a trigger and taking another human’s life. I will stand in front of a group of school students tomorrow and tell them that war is NOT a glorious thing, nor something we should pursue with any gusto - in fact, we should be aiming to avoid it. But that is not reality. I have to also agree with the sentiments expressed by Matt and LittleJoe in response to your comments.

    • Roger says:

      02:50pm | 05/03/12

      @John B
      @Marilyn Shepherd

      Re 9/11, Madrid, UK bus bombings. Bali too, from another organisation.

      An enemy appeared and attacked, then several nations went after that enemy. This enemy does not declare themselves for a country, rather they hide in any nation who’s willing to hold them. So we go after their primary training camps and bases which are in the Afghani mountains. Irregular warfare has been a lesson lost on us though, and we didn’t realise what sort of a fight we’d be in. With an enemy that does not strike colours of an eve, that doesn’t wear a uniform, or come at us in a stand up battle. They hide among a populace who hates each other, but hates us more for reasons long since lost to history.

      We’ve saved them from themselves (Libya), from other nations around them (Gulf War), armed them, fed them, built up their nations at no cost to them. Yet all westerners are despised. The ones who don’t despise us and work with us, will be attacked by their fellows who see them as traitors. Just for worshiping a different God (Sunni, Shia) is enough to get one killed, much less not seeing their God as a divine entity (Christians).

      Or put simply, war was declared, we returned the favour and are now struggling to figure out a quick and easy means of winning this war.  While cutting ADF funding, calling them murderers, and generally taking any chance to slag off their efforts. Woo, go us.

    • Observer says:

      09:45am | 09/11/11

      To our current and former soldiers:

      Thank you for your service, the freedoms we have today are due to your efforts.

    • Friend of foes says:

      02:39pm | 09/11/11

      Thanks mate.

      To Marilyn Shepherd - and what would you say about the people who are naive?

      We are not entitled to shoot their soldiers??
      We are not slaughtering their civilians in the thousands?
      We are not training anyone to murder anyone else?

      Stupid is as stupid does - and someone sitting at home making decisions based on biased/ third hand information is exactly that.

      No one enjoys war. Not even soldiers. Yet we believe we should be there.

      Go figure.

    • Marilyn Shepherd says:

      03:56pm | 09/11/11

      We are slaughtering civilians in their thousands, we intervened in a civil war, they will continue to die and we will stay there for no reason.

    • Wynston Cruso says:

      04:37pm | 09/11/11

      I think her vision is based on movement, if we sit perfectly still, she might just go away.

    • Your name:Geez.... says:

      06:56pm | 09/11/11

      The only strategy left to finalise this bullshit in Afghanistan is to withdraw ALL coalition forces, and then NUKE the joint. As George Bush proclaimed…‘Mission Accomplished’ ...this time!!!! Instead of flushing turds down the sewer…despatch the turds into the atmosphere where they will discover their awaiting virgins.

    • LJ Dots says:

      07:23pm | 10/11/11

      @Wynston Cruso, thank you for providing my first lol of the day. I really needed it.

    • enigma says:

      09:49am | 09/11/11

      Make it know to all Afghan soldiers that if they kill a fellow or international soldier that they will be shot in return and buried in a pig sty. That said, there should also be a review to ensure there are adequade counselling services for the afghans soldiers that they can utilise should they be suffering from psycholical problems or are being pressured by the taliban/al qaeda to commit these crimes.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      10:16am | 09/11/11

      Most of the time its fellow Afghan soldiers that hunt them down and kill them.

      You have to remember Afghanistan has been in constant war since the late 70s, so has been ungoverned, lawlessness and unedcuated.

    • John says:

      11:41am | 09/11/11

      You think the west is educated? We wouldn’t be in Afghanistan if we were educated.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      12:01pm | 09/11/11

      Unfortunately in the west, you can buy your education ( Bush )

    • bananabender says:

      05:26pm | 09/11/11


      Don’t let a few facts get in the road of a good rant:

      George Bush got a high SAT score of 1206. This placed him in the top 16% of university applicants in his year.

    • Jarrah says:

      09:49am | 09/11/11

      No mention of allied friendly fire? Where are those statistics again… Oh the fear mongering media wash is a tsunami in this neck of the woods isnt it…

    • Rev says:

      10:26am | 09/11/11

      Apples and oranges much?

    • Sad Sad Reality says:

      09:52am | 09/11/11

      It doesn’t matter how long Australian troops are there, Afghanistan is going to collapse into a bitter civil war the moment we leave. Such is the influence of rival factions within the religion of peace.

    • Mark G says:

      12:21pm | 09/11/11

      That’s not the point of what we are trying to achieve. Yes there will probably be a civil war when we leave but if the ANA come out on top then we have done what we set out to achieve. Remember this campaign is about counter-terrorism not humanitarianism. This sounds harsh but it is the ultimate reality of the situation.

    • Sad Sad Reality says:

      01:30pm | 09/11/11

      The counter-terrorism strategy includes terrorism prevention. An unstable country is a breeding ground for Islamic fundamentalism. See Egypt, Libya, somalia, Iraq etc etc.

    • Direct says:

      09:55am | 09/11/11

      Time to pull out. There is no reason for our young men to be over there getting killed. The Buddhas of Bamiyan are destroyed and you can’t bring them back. Let Afghan society devolve back to it’s natural state of public executions in soccer fields.

    • Anna C says:

      01:46pm | 09/11/11

      I agree. I recently heard that the Australian troops will be required to stay in Afghanistan until the end of the decade. That means we are going to be there for a total of 19 years.

      We have already been there for 9 years and what the hell have we achieved in this time? The Kharzai government only controls a 5 square kilometre radius around Kabul and is corrupt and duplicitous.

      I have heard that morale amongst our soldiers has now hit an all time low due to the latest incidents and many of them are now questioning why they are there at all.

    • Sandra Dale Boughton (Jehan illegally married me) says:

      09:59am | 09/11/11

      Isn’t it horrible when those you thought were friends, turn out to have really hated you all the way along and the only reason they pretended to be friends was coz they were waiting for the signal TO TURN THEIR GUNS ON YOU. Yep I know how it fees. But I can’t sympathize. I’m so dulled because of all the trauma I suffered at the hands of the australian military who dealt the blows for their poltical masters.

    • Boon Low says:

      10:01am | 09/11/11

      Our freedom is affected by senseless wars waged by the US fought by “allied nations” from Vietnam to IRAQ to Afghanistan ?

    • Observer says:

      12:17pm | 09/11/11

      Yes, how dare the US defend itself or protect the rest of the world from harm.

    • Crackers Carlyon says:

      10:10am | 09/11/11

      It shows that you can not TRUST Afghans, they will always believe in there country… no matter the cost.

    • Tom says:

      11:07am | 09/11/11

      Not their country Crackers their tribe! Thats why there will never be a united Afghanistan.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      12:04pm | 09/11/11

      It will never happen, especially when the tribal warfare was instigated between USSR, Pakistan and America.

    • marley says:

      12:25pm | 09/11/11

      It’s tribal.  Always has been.  Add a dose of religious rivalry (Sunni Pashtuns vs Shia Hazara) and that’s pretty much all the explanation you need for centuries of internecine violence.

    • Mark says:

      10:14am | 09/11/11

      For the love of God, read some Afghan history!  Start with LT Eyre’s seminal ‘Military Operations at Cabul’ and read BACKWARDS into history from there (although don’t forget ‘The Bear Went Over the Mountain’ - for a particularly Russian-tragedy flavour).  The outcomes are inescapable…these guys are not ‘rogue ANA’ - as idiotically oxymoronic as the term ‘Afghan National Army’ actually is - they are just Afghans!

    • gingermegs says:

      11:42am | 09/11/11

      I THINK I agree with Mark.  That’s if he is saying these Afghans ARE our enemies really and we live in a fools paradise if we think we can REEDUCATE them in 2-10 years. When is someone going to acknowledge the TRUTH. As someone here said, they are ungoverned, lawless and uneducated. True, maybe on the first 2 counts, but educated ! (of sorts). The entire culture is the product of 1400 yrs of “living by the sword”-Islam, and has its ideology of kill and conquer when and wherever the opportunity arises. It amazes me that this has not happened on a larger scale already. We’re mad to announce a date for departure as this could see an outbreak of our armed “allies”. They are NOT our allies unfortunately, but rather simply carrying out the dictates of the Koran in 1. making no friends of infidels, 2. turning on them as opportunity exists, and 3, lying as necessary to gain tactical advantage until a better opportunity exists. When will our PC world leaders wake to the fact that so called democracy is NO solution within Islam, but merely permits the clan/party with the strongest influence to come to greater power than they would otherwise have, get billions in western aid to run a caliphate satellite, in pursuit of growing their international influence to a place where they can take over the west. Study the Koran and history, its abundantly clear if anyone really wants the TRUTH.

    • MarkS says:

      01:15pm | 09/11/11

      They have not changed for a hell of a lot longer then 1,400 years. The dog eat dog, tribal lifestyle predates Islam by thousands of years.

    • John says:

      10:20am | 09/11/11

      Another Vietnam. This will just end in an utter disaster, billions wasted from western tax payers money. Just end it now! Throw all the media barons, politicians that marketed this war with filthy lies all in jail. How much longer does the west need to endure an incompetent lying western political class and lying western mainstream media? Lies, Osama Bin Laden number 2 killed 1000 times in Iraq, Osama Bin Laden killed in 2011, all lies. Osama Bin Laden behind 9/11, lies! It’s western media and politicians that are creating these fictional enemy’s, these fictional sense of threats, in order to keep this lie of war going. Wake up! You unconscious drones! these people would of never had these wars if the public was informed by the truth.

    • John says:

      12:30pm | 09/11/11

      No, not another Vietnam!

      Although it may not have looked it at the time, Vietnam has become a success.  Look at the country now - Aussies go there on holiday, Luke Nguyen rides his bike up and down looking at local cuisine, the Top Gear boys ride their bikes up and down doing nothing in particular.  All this only three decades after the end of the war.

      Come back in three centuries from now and Afghanistan will still be as it was at the time of the British raj; backwards, tribalistic, uneducated, theocratic - the only difference will be the modern weapons as opposed to the long barrelled jezzails.

    • Matt says:

      06:40pm | 09/11/11

      Alfoil hat time John…
      The funny thing is that conspiracy theorists believe absolutely EVERY conspiracy theory yet claim that people who disagree with them are brainwashed. So if you don’t believe Western Media then where do you get your masterful knowledge - Wars were going on well before any form of media. Unless the media made that up? Hmmm, good point.

      It makes me laugh…

    • Captain Obvious says:

      10:22am | 09/11/11

      It doesn’t matter how much training you give the Afghan army, as soon as western forces pull out at least half of them will go AWOL and the taliban will be back in control within 6 months.

    • Tom says:

      10:30am | 09/11/11

      No matter how long we stay in this basket case of Afghanistan the taliban will be at the airport waving the Australian troops goodbye when they leave.

    • JD says:

      10:31am | 09/11/11

      aww, yet another short but pointless statement from Ian McPhedran.

      one death at the hands of supposed ‘allies’ deliberately is too much.
      but we’ve had 3 and now 5 injured. If it happens again, would you still say the same? There is obviously something afoot here, your ‘facts’ just dont add bup.

      This is more than just “friendly fire incidents” what a political spin on this you have. This is outright murder at the hands of aledged allies. Complete withdrawal from this mission is the only viable option.

      But what more can one expect from a News Limited employee, other than disguised facts and political spin to make something like this seem far less concerning than it actually is.

    • GREGORY says:

      10:40am | 09/11/11

      @Captain Obvious says but who controls & created the the Taliban?
      that’s something you’ll never work out as you’ve been brainwashed!

    • Trevor says:

      11:13am | 09/11/11

      Inter Service Intelligence.

    • Kev says:

      10:54am | 09/11/11

      A sad fact of active engaugment, and one that if we where to withdraw wold make the losses worthless!

    • John says:

      10:58am | 09/11/11

      The only reason why i think western forces remain in Iraq and Afghanistan is most likely because the strategic military location to Iran. I suspect the western military forces are in the middleast for Israel’s long term interests. It’s all about overthrowing anti-Israel government regimes to install puppet ones. So you have western military force generals that are being ordered around via Israeli military generals. Once you pull out the western military forces out of the middleast, it will be very hard to put them back in there, unless you create another false flag Sept11. But that’s impossible, because the western media and politicians are losing their creditability, nobody is going to have a belief is another osama bin laden gang with box cutters downing steel structured buildings with paper planes The west is morally spend, the lies can’t go on for much longer. It’s game over. 2012 might be revolution year for the entire west.

    • JJ of SC says:

      12:05pm | 09/11/11

      What are you smoking John?

    • fml says:

      12:50pm | 09/11/11

      I blame those dodgy Mayans,

      Why couldnt they create a linear time system instead of circular, now we are all doomed next year.

    • Ben says:

      10:58am | 09/11/11

      General ‘Black’ Jack Pershing had the right idea how to deal with a Muslim uprising in the Phillipines (Google it).
      We could take a few lessons from him and pass them on.
      Might be surprisingly effective.

    • El says:

      11:51am | 09/11/11

      Spot on Ben, however, we no longer fight wars we merely appease apathetic populations an build wells and bridges for them. Which they end up blowing up anyway. Sadly its the boys in the frontline that have to bear the consequences of our modern ‘softly approach’.

    • MDG says:

      12:03pm | 09/11/11

      You mean concentration camps and war crimes?  There’s nothing much we can do that the Soviet Union didn’t try, and they ended up losing just the same.

    • Matt says:

      12:18pm | 09/11/11

      As much as I liked the so called tactic of “Black” Jack Pershing and would love to see it implemented it was, unfortunately a hoax. I got the emails about that guy and after a fair bit of investigating found that it was a very clever hoax that sadly never happened.

    • El says:

      12:25pm | 09/11/11

      The Soviets, left a good stable government behind and the coutnry was doing ok, until the U.S and Pakistan continued backing the primitiive Mujahideen Terrorists. MDG your point is null and void, do some reading first.

    • MDG says:

      02:45pm | 09/11/11

      Not quite, El.  Najibullah’s government didn’t have much sway in the countryside except what it could apply by military force and it didn’t last more than a few short years anyway because the USSR collapsed behind it.  To put it more bluntly, the Taliban regime lasted longer than Najibullah and I don’t see anyone describing them as either “good” or “stable”.  Are you proposing that the coalition support the current Afghan government to the same extent that the Soviets supported Najibullah’s?  Because of course there’ll be some support there, but how much should be poured in if Karzai can’t get any better results?

    • El says:

      03:55pm | 09/11/11

      Najibullah did well, only the end of Soviet auid lead to his downfall. Also he was a great secular leader. He was on the verge of winnign and the so-called ‘resistance’ was doing bad, especially after they failed to take Jalalabad in 1989. The country was getting normal, look at their parades in Kabul in 1989-1991. Look at them now. Religion and tribalism has destroyed the country its like a drug. You cannot compare Najibullah to the Taliban, true he had his flaws but he was a far mroe superior and progressive leader than them and Karzai. Anyway i hope the country does well and we suffer no more losses.

    • marley says:

      05:39pm | 09/11/11

      @El - okay, bit of a history lesson for you.  The Soviets didn ‘t leave a stable government behind.  As soon as they left, the assorted factions started shooting at one another.

      And while the US and Pakistan certainly supported the mujaheddin during the occupation, neither supported them afterwards.  The Americans got the hell out, and the Pakistanis supported the Taliban.  The Taliban took advantage of the incredibly dysfunctional post-Soviet environment, marched in, killed off the major mujaheddin leaders (google Ahmed Shah Masood) and took over.

      I think you need to read a bit of history yourself.

    • Adriana says:

      11:03am | 09/11/11

      ensure that the Afghan soldiers have blank bullets in their guns, this way when they do shoot at our soldiers our soldiers can kill and ask questions later!!!

    • Ex-Army - 20 years service says:

      02:46pm | 09/11/11

      Never fired a weapon with blanks I assume? They employ a blank firing attachment to severely constrict gas flow to allow the weapon to automatically reload. For safety reasons they are visible so the firer cant accidentally fire a live round which would sevely damage the weapon and maybe kill the firer - even an Afghan would notice one of this on his weapon (he says sarcastically). I suppose a bland firing barrel could be manufactured but it would be bloody dangerous and also obvious to anyone who attempted to clean their weapon - several times in any given day, besides have you ever seen a blank? They look nothing like a live round and so no-one could get them confused.

    • Vincent Stokes says:

      11:11am | 09/11/11

      Give every man, woman and child a gun and let them sort it out, once they have finished each other off we can then step in… Afghanistan is a waste of time.

    • Deano says:

      11:11am | 09/11/11

      Wishing you guys a speedy recovery.” Second to None"2RAR

    • lee enfield says:

      11:18am | 09/11/11

      2nd to 1.

    • Dig says:

      11:48am | 09/11/11

      Technically second to 1RAR

    • Shooter says:

      11:50am | 09/11/11

      Well said Deano.

    • Shooter says:

      12:03pm | 09/11/11

      2 Commando

    • lee enfield says:

      11:14am | 09/11/11

      There is more to these shootings then just rogue soldiers.  If it was a one off, sure, but it is starting to increasingly look like a tactic and it isn’t just our troops on the receiving end, other coalition countries are as well. The taliban have infiltrated the ANA and as soon as the western forces leave, the taliban will take   power again. The only difference this time is that core component of the taliban 2.0 will have been trained and equipped by the west.
      We should stop accepting any refugees from Afghanistan. If we can’t trust them to not shoot our troops who are helping their country to try and achieve the freedom they are seeking in Australia, why should we trust them living in our society.

    • Joe says:

      11:15am | 09/11/11

      we’ve achieved absolutely nothing.. why are we risking the lives of our soldiers?? it’s pointless. when australia went to east timore, howard asked bush for help. the US said no, but we jump to the call for them… why, we get out economic business from asia and if ever we’re attacked by someone, who will help us?????

    • pete says:

      11:17am | 09/11/11

      well said john “here here”

    • NigelC says:

      02:48pm | 09/11/11

      where, where? Please learn to write.

    • Max says:

      11:27am | 09/11/11

      “If any evidence emerges that insurgent “sleepers’’ are being used for the attacks then the military will have a major problem”

      Well derrrrrrrr Ian. from the frontline in Holt Street (if you made it in today) this is a clear example of why the internet and 24 hour news cycle has made news so crap. you havent given one piece of news that you havent taken from somewhere else and your analysis makes a mockery of the sacrifice our brave diggers make.

      lift your game Punch.

    • Perdix says:

      11:40am | 09/11/11

      you do believe that you have fairies at the bottom of your garden don’t you?
      reality is that there are sleepers, and they will continue to strike in an erratic fashion. That is the nature of the type of warfare that is being fought in Afghanistan. the problem is that the west insists on trying to fight a conventional war, where more weapons and more people win. All that happens is the other side goes away and hides, and then comes back out when you’re not looking!

    • Farkem... says:

      05:59pm | 09/11/11

      I agree Perdix. If we fought with the same rules that the terrorist organisations fight with we would wipe them off the face of the earth. Unfortunately when you completely level a village because they are hiding 5 terrorists amongst 500 civilians we are made to look like the bad guys. However when these pricks target a heap of civilians directly it’s because the “west needs to change it’s foreign policy”. I’m over the whole good guy image and we need to start smashing them hard behind the scenes without every soft as icecream do gooder jumping on the bandwagon because some poor tribesman’s donkey got topped. We also need to keep all media out of these areas so they cannot twist and manipulate a complex situation to make it look so black and white…

    • Josh says:

      11:50am | 09/11/11

      Again Ian McPhedran comments on the ADF when he has proven time and time again that he rarely has all the facts.

    • Luke says:

      11:51am | 09/11/11

      The irony is, Australian troops undergo psychological testing before entry into the Defence Force only to train Afghanies who are not psychologically sound.

    • Stiffy says:

      07:04pm | 09/11/11

      Classic comment Luke. Unfortunately there will be many that will require psychological assistance when the come home.
      American soldiers have been exposed to most of these ‘rogue’ soldiers for simple reasons such as one Afghan soldier let loose because he had a family dispute over a marriage.
      from what we read and hear this is a very accurate article.

    • Matt says:

      07:42pm | 09/11/11

      I agree Luke. Another funny thing was what a mate in the army told me. He went with the UN to Rwanda in the mid 90’s and basically watched the massacre unfold before him and could do nothing to intervene unless fired upon or threatened directly. These guys had to have a psychological analysis when they returned home and were given a rating. Rumour has it that the psychiatrists also underwent a similar test and were shown to be more traumitised by the soldier’s description of events than the soldiers themselves who were actually there…

    • John Jones says:

      12:11pm | 09/11/11

      A good leader knows when to make a strategic withdrawal to prevent further unnecessary casualties . With the present government in charge of this country it looks like we are in for a lot more casualties and pain for the relatives before they finally see the error of their ways. Pull out by 2014, pigs might fly if Obama so much as winks at Julia she will have us there until doomsday.

    • lee enfield says:

      12:39pm | 09/11/11

      this govt will announce a full troop withdrawl from afghanistan by the end of 2013 and it will be announced just prior to or during the next election campaign,  in an effort to buy votes.  until then,  they will pedal the 2014 timelime and save an early withdrawal as a card up their sleeve.

    • middleearthling says:

      12:13pm | 09/11/11

      What a man believes determines his intention and a man’s intentin is arguably ‘the’ most important thing for others to know about him. Believing in Islam entails believing in the teachings of the Quran that call for killing of non-muslims, and that prophet Muhammad was the role model. Muhammad killed 1000s in order to install his version of religion on the hindus, jews and christians in Arabia at the time. His successors continued to spread Islam by the sword or dhimmitude. A muslim MUST engage in jihad, whether he likes it or not. The only way a muslim is assured of avoiding hell is to die in jihad: dying while murdering non-muslims. Twelve times, the Quran tells the muslim not to make friends with any Jew or christian. Lying and deception is permitted.

      The bottom line is that you cannot ‘win hearts and minds’. The only way these wars in the Islamic world will ever be won is when the ideology is exposed for what it is and deconstructed. Once the majority no longer follows this destructive ‘religion’, the majority of wars in the world will be over.

    • fml says:

      12:51pm | 09/11/11

      Jihad, means personal struggle, it can easily be applied to opening a jar of pickles.

    • Jon says:

      06:04pm | 09/11/11

      Well stated, Islam is the problem, it always been the problem but the PC mob keep this true from the debate.

    • iansand says:

      06:21pm | 09/11/11

      jon - Afghanistan was a problem before God invented Islam.

    • Jon says:

      07:59pm | 09/11/11

      iansand@ not true, it was Buddhist well before the Mohammedan invasion and was a lot more peaceful.  Remember Buddhas of Bamiyan dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban. Alexander the Great did a much better job of running it the than the current mob.

      Finally God had noting to do with Islam it was an invention of Mohammed.

    • Andrew C says:

      12:16pm | 09/11/11

      Why does it matter if it’s a ‘sleeper’ agent placement program?  Other hypotheses include:
      - mixing / training with Australian troops triggers murderous resentment spontaneously.
      - ANA soldiers can be manipulated into this sort of attack by their social network
      - ANA soldiers see attacking Australian troops and running away as their best strategy for survival.

    • averill says:

      12:35pm | 09/11/11

      I am very concerned that there are so many single men from Afghanistan coming onto this country in boats. Are they genuine refugees? Or are they sleepers that the Taliband are planting, to await the right moment to strike?  If these people can fool the Army, I think our public servants granting them visa’s will be a certainty to fool!
      Well said Ginger megs !!!  comment @12.42

    • Marilyn Shepherd says:

      01:44pm | 09/11/11

      The refugees coming here are being ethnically cleansed because they are Hazara and shi’ite and therefore less worthy than cockroaches.

      Do get a grip you stupid, ignorant clowns.

      Perhaps it is the number and scale of civilians being slaughtered by NATO and us that bothers the Afghan people.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      01:45pm | 09/11/11

      lol made me laugh, while we have to be cautious, I think we will be ok

    • marley says:

      02:00pm | 09/11/11

      One thing I admire about you, Marilyn, is you grasp on logic.  The Hazara are being ethnically cleansed, yet it’s Nato that is committing the slaughter of Afghans? 

      How many Afghan civilians have died at the hands of NATO, and how many at the hands of the Taliban, since 2001?  Here’s an interesting tidbit from The Guardian earlier this week:

      “According to the latest UN figures, the Taliban were responsible for 80% of the 1,462 civilian deaths caused by fighting between insurgents and pro-government forces in Afghanistan in the first six months of this year. ”

    • bananabender says:

      06:49pm | 09/11/11

      @Marilyn Shepherd,

      the vast majority of Hazari boat people have never set a foot inside Afghanistan.. They are economic migrants born in Pakistan. They have no intention of ever integrating into Australia society. They and their families are simply planning to suck on the welfare teat for the next two or three generations.

      I met one of the Afghan refugee “boys” a few months back. He was very obviously aged somewhere between 28 and 35 but attending high school. He was incredibly evasive when I started asking about his background and started giving a pre-rehearsed “name, rank and serial number” spiel.

    • Matt says:

      06:52pm | 09/11/11

      Hi Marylin.
      Because the Afghani men are arriving by boats due to “ethnic cleansing” wouldn’t you think they’d be good hearted enough to bring their family? It blows my mind to think that any real man under threat would do a runner and leave their family behind. We have had a fair influx into our region of Afghani refugee males who have come to pick fruit (Riverland, SA). Many are already OPENLY complaining because they left a home and car to come here yet aren’t even earning enough money to BUY a car or house in Australia. Many of them are saying they wish they never came as they were told they can make their riches in Australia. It is quite obvious they only pushed to get here to improve their finances, not flee possible death yet are classed as REFUGEES. Funny how they’ve all come here to avoid persecution isn’t it? THESE are the sort of stories that should be run in the mainstream media. We have seen how certain Afghanis can be manipulated to shoot their Australian allies, yet it is beyond belief to some people’s pea sized brains that they would ever manipulate the authorities to get into our country…
      It’s funny how the do gooder supporters of a free for all refugee intake believe 100% of refugee’s stories yet will call fellow Australians liars who disagree with them.

    • Sniperbait says:

      12:38pm | 09/11/11

      I am deploying in February and my wife is beside herself with worry about me being shot in the back by an ANA soldier rather than the Taliban. My only recourse to her is I tell her I will not turn my back on armed ANA or walk in front of them. However we must stay the course, to withdraw now would mean the 32 KIA and all the WIA suffered for nothing.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      01:45pm | 09/11/11

      Good luck with it all

    • NJ says:

      08:24am | 10/11/11

      And this is exactly why the Australian public forgets. We need to be supporting your wife and you guys NOW. All this “outpouring of support” sh*ts me when it happens only after one of you is wounded or knocked. Words here cannot adequately express the support and pride I have you guys. I know when I was in uniform I told my mother, if it’s my time, it’s my time. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you but I am going to do what I am trained for. Be strong and stay safe.

    • Anna C says:

      01:58pm | 09/11/11

      I’ve heard that many of the soldiers in the Afghan army are only there because the Afghan government pays more for them to join the army then what the Taliban pays for them to join their organisation. They wouldn’t know what the word ‘loyalty’ means, no wonder they are so willing to turn on their own allies.

    • Ricky_B says:

      03:26pm | 09/11/11

      And this useless government lets boatloads of these welfare shoppers slip in the back door of our country.Great citizens they will make.Ah well, at the end of the day they are keeping the middle eastern crime squad & centrelink employed.

    • fml says:

      04:04pm | 09/11/11

      We have a back door?

    • BobM says:

      09:13pm | 09/11/11

      @fml. Yes, it is called Christmas Island.

    • today is 9 /11 says:

      03:00pm | 09/11/11

      today is 9/11 !
      If the Coalition Forces need Coalition soldiers then make conscription compulsory for all Coalition Voters !

    • Ricky_B says:

      03:22pm | 09/11/11

      Its scary to think this untrustworthy, tribal culture is slipping into Australia as illegal immigrants. They cant be trusted & have no place here. All the allies should bring their troops home,these grubs arent worth dying for.Let them sink back into their medieval, third world crap hole & they can wipe each other.It doesnt matter as long as they stay out of this beautiful country.

    • Sky says:

      03:51pm | 09/11/11

      oh yes this beauftiful country full of well educated and informed people who treat each other equally and with respect! Where did your ancestors come from Ricky_B????

    • LauraBoBaura says:

      04:40pm | 09/11/11

      Maybe this isn’t ‘proof’ of an sleeper insurgency, but it’s a pretty clear indication, don’t you think?

    • Chuck says:

      04:59pm | 09/11/11

      Yeap if you treat these people with respect you can expect to end up dead Sky. Why don’t you try wandering around there and perhaps hand out some of your wisdom?? You are a non believer (I expect) and would end up better informed in human nature and culturally imponderable barriers. Maybe a tourist visit to the Bamiyan buddhist site - oops it’s not there anymore!
      It seems strange that the vast numbers of illegal immigrants from that neck of the woods happen to be of military age. Must be the free smokes, paid phone cards, free legal advice, free travel cards, free medical etc etc that makes this country so appealing. And you too can go to the Oz equivalent of Madrases and listen to the same rhetoric to remind you of home.

    • Ricky_B says:

      05:46pm | 09/11/11

      Chuck, Nail. Head. Well said mate.

    • stephen says:

      06:03pm | 09/11/11

      Ask Pakistan what they were doing on the night of a dull moon, now that they cannot get their way with Hillary C.
      (Their minds cannot all have been on crooked cricketers.)

    • mick says:

      06:17pm | 09/11/11

      Looks to me like the insurgency has now found a much better way of getting the first world to go home.  Kill their soldiers en mass and break their spirit.

    • Stiffy says:

      07:16pm | 09/11/11

      Last March there were a number of American airmen/women who were killed by an Afghan soldier. It was established that the reason why he killed them was because he did not like to take orders from women.
      It could be time for the exit strategy manual to be dusted down and examined.
      Bin Ladins gone. The training camps have moved.
      It may be time for the Afghan Army to step up and for us to step out.

    • John says:

      09:27pm | 09/11/11

      Bin Ladin was always insignificant, he didn’t load up the WTC towers with explosives. Our Western soldiers are just canon fodder, manipulated, lied to by their governments, media and military generals. They are dying for a heap lying corrupt politicians. This is the world we live in. Western soldier’s are unconsciously doing bad in reality, but in their minds reality has been twisted by the politicians and the media to believe they are doing good. The west is in the moral wrong, we are really the bad guys. This is the reality that the west must face up to. Just because the place we live is civilized, doesn’t make us civilized when invading and occupying foreign country’s. The world is all about worshiping the power god. Who ever has the power, is always worshiped, views, thoughts are then justified to serve that power. This what the west does everyday, with the help of manipulation of the politicians and the controlled media networks.

    • LDLS says:

      11:21pm | 09/11/11

      @John…..there isn’t enough tinfoil in the world to help you dude.

    • Bemused says:

      08:08am | 10/11/11

      no different to training actual dogs, sometimes they bite.

    • Stiffy says:

      08:43am | 10/11/11

      Never pat a burning dog.

    • OLD MAX says:

      09:29am | 10/11/11

      I’m just curious as to how many sleepers have entered this country as so called refugees?

    • Observer says:

      10:38am | 10/11/11

      Why don’t we survey them?

      “Are you a sleeper?”


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