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Defence Review Of Operational Incident

Defence Review Of Operational Incident In Afghanistan Concludes

Defence has concluded a review into an operational incident in Afghanistan on 9 November 2009, where a young Afghan man was found with a gunshot wound to his lower left leg.

Australian troops working alongside the Afghan National Army were fired on by insurgents who were occupying higher ground in the vicinity of Shah Wali Kot, in southern Afghanistan. The Australian forces engaged the insurgent firing positions in a controlled and discriminate manner, in accordance with Australian and International Security Assistance Force rules of engagement. There was no use of close air support or indirect fire (mortars) by Australian troops.

Approximately twenty minutes after the contact, the Afghan male was found by Australian troops with a single gun-shot wound to his lower left leg. Immediate first aid was applied by Australian forces before the man was aero-medically evacuated to the Dutch military hospital at Tarin Kowt, where he received surgery on the leg wound.

Following an interview with the man, the reviewing officer was not able to determine the origin of the round. The bullet passed through the Afghan’s leg and was not able to be recovered for forensic analysis.

The Afghan male in question has been released from hospital to return home and is expected to make a full recovery. Follow-on medical treatment will be available to him, if requested.

The review found that it was unlikely, but not impossible, that the wound was caused by Australian troops. The review concluded that the terrain and manner of the engagement suggested it was more likely that the injury was the result of insurgent fire.


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