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(generated from captions) we're never there as As General Hurley has said,

we're never there as a fatality in Afghanistan, the Australian community quite rightly

questions our commitment to

Afghanistan. Let me make a

number of points in that

respect. We continue to be in

Afghanistan because we believe

security and national interest it is in Australia's national

to be there, helping, together with a United assistance force, helping the international community to stare stare down international terrorism. Despite terrible

we are making setbacks like today we believe

terms of training and mentoring the Afghan National security

forces in o ruz Gan and in

Afghanistan generally, to be in a position to transition to Afghan-led responsibility by

2014. This is important because

in the course of this year the

so-called northern summer fighting season, the Taliban both in Oruzgan province and in

failed to retake any ground Afghanistan generally have

18 months or so. I've taken from them over the last

18 months or so. I've been

the saying all year that we expect

the Taliban to resort to high profile propaganda-motivated

attacks which we've seen all too regularly in the course of

this year. There are some particular circumstances which

attend to this terrible blow to our soldiers in Afghanistan, our soldiers in Afghanistan, to army,

army, to our organisation generally and to army, to our Defence

our nation. Let me

our nation. Let me deal with

those. Firstly, we are seeing

multiple fatalities. 3

fatalities and 7 wounded makes

it together with the terrible helicopter crash in hand -

Kandahar of June last year when

we saw the deaths of Aplin, Chuck and Palmer and Australian servicemen is the largest single is the largest single adverse

incident in Afghanistan. The

toll will reverberate through

the nation. It is a terrible

and tragic blow. This will, of course, be the largest single

incident involving firearms or

gun shot. Secondly, because it

involves a member of this is a very particular

circumstance and will be the

subject, as General Hurley has

said, of a full and complete

investigation by investigation by the Defence

Force. We will do that in international security cooperation with the

assistance force with ISAF. You

will remember the incident last

year - this year, May of this year, with Lance Corporal

Andrew Jones who was terribly

killed by an Afghan National of that attack the chief of the Army soldier. In the aftermath

Defence Force and the Defence Force and the Defence

organisation reviewed all of the arrangements so Afghanistan dealing with the Australian personnel in

Afghan National Army members are concerned. Those circumstances will again be

reviewed, we will also call

upon ISAF to further review its

procedures and its arrangements so far as recruitment and service security force members are

concerned. This will be done,

as I say, in an exhaustive and

comprehensive way so far as

Australia is concerned. the first occasion on which members of our mentoring and training task force have training task force have been

killed outside of Oruzgan. This

brings the tally now of fatalities in Afghanistan to 32. Over 10 of fatally killed outside of 32. Over 10 of those have been

Oruzgan. We've seen deaths in

Kandahar, and in Helmand. But

this is the first occasion this is the first occasion in

respect of which we've seen

members of our mentoring and

training task force killed

outside of Oruzgan. As General

Hurley has advised this is part

of a mobile mentoring and

training task force which from

time to time goes to the patrol

base concerned south of the arrangement Oruzgan border. I detailed this base concerned south of the

arrangement in my last

parliamentary report earlier

this month on 13 October. 32

fatalities, 209 woundings, this

is a terrible toll for our

nation. The terrible events

that General Hurley and I have announced today will

reverberate through our nation,

a terrible blow and a terrible reminder to 29

As General Hurley has indicated

this stage do not want their the 3 families concerned at

family members identified. We will respect will respect their privacy and

at an appropriate time make

detail aid nouns ment - detailed announcements respect to the 3 fatalities. detailed announcements with

General Hurley and I are happy

to respond to your ques. Let's

do this in an orderly way. Andrew and then David. The reports coming out of Afghanistan overnight have been that the man who killed and

injured, has been with the ANA

and with the coalition forces

for about 3 years. Is that understanding? And for about 3 years. Is that your

understanding? And secondly,

when will the ANA soldier be

rearmed and what will the

circumstances be before that

happens? In relation to the

first question we've only

received that same information

you would have read in the

papers that came out over the

wire last night. I don't have

any further information to

present time. The investigation

will reveal that. But I don't

think he was a new member of

the ANA so I think he had previous previous service. In relation

to the rearming of the 6th Kandak that's going to be a

call by the commander of the

4th brigade, General Zafar but

obviously we'll talk to him as we approach that and work out

what the conditions will be. There's a confidence issue here

that needs to be worked

Understanding it's less than 24 take our time on that. through. So we need to just

hours since this incident. Before going to David

can I make one more remark. Of course this is not the terrible course this is not the only Afghanistan overnight. We've

seen in Kabul a terrible car

bomb attack where up to as many

as 16 deaths have occurred

including soldiers civilians. The precise numbers including soldiers and

are not yet known. But some are certainly United States

has received contact from his soldiers just

counterparts can I just

indicate that this morning US

Secretary for Defence Leon

Panetta rang to express his condolences on the attack and I

ind kaiteded - indicated ind kaiteded - indicated to

him that I would make his condolences public to the Australian people and I was

very grateful to receive that

phone call early this morning.

Like wise, of course, I also

extended our condolences extended our condolences for the United States' loss in the attack overnight. David. On that attack, is there any suspicion that there is any coordination in the timing coordination in the timing of these two incidents, the suicide bombing suicide bombing in Kabul and

the attack that we've seen on

the Australian forces? And

secondly on the decision to

disarm those members of the 6th Kandak, talk us through the

reasoning, if you can, for

making that decision. Does

Australia from any input in asking for that to asking for that to happen? Is there a fear that there might be further enemy infillet ration of the Kandak? In terms

obviously we're in the aftermath of two terrible

attacks. One in Kabul itself

and one in the south. There is nothing obvious which

indicate a link but we will of course bear that in mind as we

do our exhaustive and comprehensive assess ment. What

we do know is that, as I stated

earlier, it is part of the

Taliban tactic now because they have been unable to make up

ground to resort to profile suicide bomb, propaganda-motivated attack. The motivation is The motivation is to reduce

confidence, to see an ebbing of

confidence to see a loss and a

lack of political will. Whether

the two are related time will

tell but there is tell but there is nothing

obvious which would draw that

conclusion. It's a regrettable

feature of Afghanistan in a continuing

continuing way that these

terrible incidents occur. I'll leave General Hurley to comment

on the detail of the

disarming. Thank you. David, in relation to

6th Kandak this is a decision made by General Zafar himself. I believe he's quite distressed

at the incident and concerned

and I think he probably took

that action trying to get in

his mind to ensure that it

stopped at that incident and

until he could get on top of things down there things down there he's

disarmed, confined them to disarmed, confined them to the barracks, take away barracks, take away as much of

the risk he can, I think, from

that environment. A question to you both, I is there any indication that

this was an argument that

sparked the shooting rather

than a planned attack by a Taliban or insurgent that had infiltrated into the ANA and planned this attack or was it

more likely that something that

just happened at a whim that

there was an argument and a

fight? In short we don't know at

at the moment and it goes to my

point let's not jump to conclusions

conclusions here. We simply

don't know what was the motive

for this at terrible case of Lance Corporal Andrew Jones you will recall

that we were very keen to try and get a sense

motivation that he had. In the

event he was killed we, at the time, were able to interview his brother but his brother was

not in a position to shed any

light on his motivation. As the

General has said, we don't want

to leap to any conclusions

whilst I've said in response whilst I've said in response to David's question that between the two terrible events

coming out of Afghanistan

overnight we have an open mind

about that, we will do a

comprehensive investigation in cooperation with our international security

assistance force and also in

cooperation the Afghan National Army. Was there any indication

that this soldier was a bad soldier? Reputation in the

ANA? We have no details on him

at all in relation to that. I think he had think he had been in the ANA

for a period, not a

but I have no background

information at the moment. General Hurley,

presumably however long presumably however long this soldier was in the

known to the Australians, known to the Australians, he

was working with, you said

there was a confidence there was a confidence issue

but Australian soldiers working

in great uncertainty all the

time, what is this likely to do to the Australian soldiers' confidence in the people they

train? I think there will be a

natural period now where people are apprehensive about working relationship is like. I

think that would be quite natural and I'd be looking to

the commanders in the the commanders in the field over there. They need to work their way through this

you know, vur - very much at

the heart of our mission is the mentoring and training of

Afghan National army. Now after Corporal Jones' death which had

a similar effect, we've a similar effect, we've managed

to rebuild and I was only over

there about 3 weeks ago and

could see a quite natural

relationship in the patrol base

I visited. It's hard to get

there and maintain that and

this will take a lot of work on

both sides to get us back to that type of

I just add to that, I just add to that, in

Afghanistan itself we have just

over 300,000 Afghan over 300,000 Afghan National

Security Force members made up

of Afghan National Army members

and police. In Oruzgan we have nearly 7,000 Afghan National Security Forces between and 4,000 Afghan National Army,

the rest police. And so whilst

the number of incidents of this

nature are relatively small, when they do occur they do send a shockwave, there's no point retreating from that analysis.

We've had one up until now, and

that caused us to do the exhaustive reviews that I

referred to. Two, we'll send a

similar shockwave through the system. Now , if this is a Taliban infiltrator then clearly the motivation is clearly the motivation is aimed at that as well but I'm not, as

the General, is not seeking to prejudge that in any way but I

referred earlier that there referred earlier that there are some particular circumstances

about this terrible day and

that is one of them and that that is one of them and that is

why we will do the exhaustive

analysis and why we'll also analysis and why we'll also ask

ISAF to continue to review the

arrangements that it has in

place for recruitment and like. Minister, you said that

like. Minister, you said that

this sl a terrible toll for our

nation and people will be upset by this today, what do you direct l say to you direct l say to Australians

that the toll is now high enough and we should leave? Three things. Firstly, it is no surprise and will it is no surprise and will not be a surprise that in the aftermath of any fatality, particularly a fatality like this with very tragic circumstances that the

immediate reaction of the

Australian people will be to question our ongoing commitment

to Afghanistan. I understand

that. Secondly, our

view is that if we were to

leave now, we would run the

risk of creating a vacuum into

which the Taliban, the Haqqani

Network, the remnants of

Al-Qaeda would again fall

creating precisely the same

danger that we are there to stare down, that the

Afghanistan, in particular the area would again become a breeding ground Afghanistan/Pakistan border breeding ground for international terrorism and Australians have been on the

receiving end of international

terrorism whether that's been

in Indonesia, in the United States or in Europe. The third

thing I say is that we are not

in Afghanistan forever, we do not want to be in not want to be in Afghanistan forever. Despite these terrible setbacks we continue to believe that we are on track that we are on track to

transition to Afghan National Security Force responsibility for for security matters by both in Oruzgan itself where despite this incident and the

incident involving Lance

Corporal Jones, we believe we

are on track to train and mentor the Afghan National Army in Oruzgan to be able to take that responsibility seen substantial improvement in

their capacity over time. That

same analysis is shared by my international security assistance force and assistance force and NATO

defence ministers in terms defence ministers in terms of

Afghanistan generally. So we believe we are on track to transition to Afghan-led responsibility. We're forever, we don't want to be

there forever. But if we were

to leave now that would run the

risk of creating a vacuum and all of the work that has been

done over too long a period

would be lost. Can I ask how

many men are currently in the

6th Kandak, how many are being

disarmed? What's the area that 6th

6th Kandak operated in? Also

can you explain some of the circumstances of this shooting, how

this soldier who did the

shooting was he on parade also

or did he appear on the scene

and start shooting? Or Just in terms of 6th Kandak terms of 6th Kandak they operate across the operate across the Oruzgan province, distributed in a number of patrol bases,

east-west and down south where

this one is. So it's hard on a

particular day to say how many

in a particular base but that base will take up to about 2

companies worth. So there could

be up to a couple of hundred people in there particular time. In the particular time. In terms of

the circumstances of the particular incident, don't have

all the details on that at the present time as you'd

appreciate. But from what I understand is we're on parade

with the ANA soldiers where this fellow opened fire. I believe he was not

participating in the parade but

I don't have any further detail

than that. How long do you

expect the review to take? The

same length of time after same length of time after the previous shooting this one is more - Well I

wouldn't be putting a timetable

on. We'll do it in on. We'll do it in an exhaustive and way, it will require

consultation with the ISAF, can

the ave Gan National Army on

the ground and generally. We'll

do an exhaustive assessment to see whether there are any

lessons we can learn which can

minimise the risk of

minimise the risk of this occurring again.

Hurley, can I ask you if any

wider security procedures have

been put in place across

Afghanistan or across Oruzgan

for Australian soldiers in

terms of dealing with ANA, in

terms of joint patrols been

suspended across the operating

area? Have the units been

segregated? It's my knowledge

no action of that nature staken

- taken. We're concentrating on

this particular location at the

moment. And just on the incident itself,

who was shot, was he just shot

by one Australian soldier or

did a number of Australian did a number of Australian soldiers in turn fire? The

reporting at the moment reporting at the moment simply

says the says the Australians in location returned location returned fire. If you're on parade does that mean

that you're unarmed, if you're on parade those soldiers have

got weapons? You're going to a

level of detail I don't have. But he was have. But he was shooting

unarmed men? He may have been,

I don't know. One on this side. General Hurley, you

are putting in place enhanced security measures on this security measures on this base, does that mean that the does that mean that the Afghan

soldiers are effectively now under Australian guard? They've

been confined fined to barracks

and we have a presence this. I

think - I wouldn't put it think - I wouldn't put it under

guard, I would simply say

they've been asked to stay with

their senior leadership looking their senior leadership looking after them. Telling them to stay in barracks until we've

gathered the evidence we

I wouldn't say they're I wouldn't say they're under guard, they've just been

ordered back to barracks. It's

not all ANA solders. It's the

6th Kadak people operating in

this area. How long have we been operating in that specific

location and what is the update

on Australian soldiers in Oruzgan? The patrol base has

been occupied by the 6th Kandak

since about July. We only

commenced our mobile mentoring into that into that patrol base in about

September visiting on two or -

for a period of two or three

days to do training with days to do training with them

or going down for a bit longer if there's a if there's a specific task they need to be done spend time with

them. Whilst we do out of

province operations which my predecessor, John Faulkner, predecessor, John Faulkner, has put on the record, put on the record, generally

they are special forces. Because this was Because this was the first occasion which training and

mentoring was done and out of province below south of the border,

advice I approved that and then

report to the national security

committee and because it was committee and because it was a

training and mentoring out of

province operation for the

first occasion I indicated that

to the parliament in my last parliamentary report which parliamentary report which from memory was mid October, 13

October, I think. How many - at this point in time are this point in time are any Australian soldiers with (Inaudible) I would assume

so, yes. The whole force is armed and the whole force would be continuing to do so.

So we've only talked about

disarming a particular

location.Sydney - A particular unit. Are you able

all of those Australian

soldiers today are continuing

to work alongside Afghan

National Army counterparts they

should have complete trust should have complete trust in

them? I think each them? I think each of those have built their own

have built their own working relationships in those bases. They know the people, they know

how to respond. I can't direct

them from Canberra or from

Perth about how they're to

behave in the That's what they pay the

commanders to do. Each commanders to do. Each areas they know what they know what actions they will need to take in relation

to this. Regarding the 6th

Kandak, if I understand it correctly, you're we have had involvement with them before but usually SAS

level and this is the first

time we've had mentoring? No,

my predecessors and I have put

on the public record that from

time to time we do what are

described out of province operations, outside of the boundaries of province of

Oruzgan. In the main

in the past I've indicated that that occurs with respect to Helmand, with Kandahar, Helmand, with Kandahar, I've

put that as have my predecessors on the public record. On this occasion, for

the first occasion, a mobile

training and mentoring task

force was authorised to go

south of the border to this

patrol base in the man ner

which the General has outlined.

Because it was the first

occasion we had authorised a

mentoring and training task force membership to go outside

of province, I put of province, I put that on the parliamentary record and that has been the situation with respect to this particular

patrol base or forward

operating base since September. The significance

being that it's the first time

that we've ventured outside of Oruzgan with regular troops. For training and

mentoring, yes. Why was mentoring, yes. Why was that

decision taken to train and

mentor outside? The particular

patrol base was on the main

route from Kandahar into Tarin

Kowt so it's our life terms of resupply and so part

of the Afghan National of the Afghan National Army's

plan to secure that route is plan to secure that route is to

have patrol bases along the

route. The nearest one is the one we're talking about to one we're talking about to TK.

It fits more neatly into the 4th bri gaid's operating area. We had discussions how we would

do that, obviously we went to Government to discuss the issue.

issue. I looked at it and from a military point of view I thought it was appropriate that

the that patrol base. We didn't

need to sit with them 24 hours

a day to do the job so we went into a mobile form of mentoring. The principle is the

same. The principle so far as is out of province special

forces operations is not just

that it brings a benefit to Afghanistan generally but that

it has beneficial implications

for security in Oruzgan and so

the same principle applied with respect to training and

mentoring of the 6th Kandak of

the 4th bri - Brigade. It has

beneficial or positive security

implications for Oruzgan

itself. Will this type of mentoring

mentoring in the outer province, that sort of

mentoring be suspended now

mentoring be suspended now for

a while and while it's a while and while it's been investigated and what are the specific numbers of Australian soldiers currently operating in Afghanistan? We have on average 1,550 contribution 1,550 contribution in

Afghanistan the bulk of that in Oruzgan but we do have people in Kabul and also people in Kandahar for aviation

purposes but it's on average,1, 550. That hasn't changed some time. In terms of out of province operations for mentoring and training, this is the only occasion which the

matter has a risen. Any

incident s would come to me incident s would come to me in

the same way, namely that to the conclusion this had beneficial outcomes not just

for training and mentoring for training and mentoring the

4th Brigade of the Afghan

National Army which is our primary task in Oruzgan but also had beneficial

implications for security in

Oruzgan. The fact that it was

the first occasion was why I

put it on the public record.

We, for all of the obvious

reasons, don't put in advance

particular special forces

operations on the public record

but we do on a regular basis put on the fact that on a regular bay-

basis our special force dos

operate jutside the boundaries

of Oruzgan. How long had of Oruzgan. How long had these soldiers been there at this base? That detail I don't know.

We've had members going there

mentoring and task force members going there since September. But on and September. But on and off? On

and off, yes. They hadn't been

there for a long period. As I said they only go down for a 2

or 4 3 day period. I wouldn't

have been there too long. And

they're normally brought home

on Qantas flights, is that going to be a problem? I've never brought them back in my

lifetime on Qantas. We'll use our own aircraft. Are you

considering any military - We're dealing with Afghanistan, we're Afghanistan, we're not going to deal with other issues. You

stopped short of saying Australian soldiers in Afghanistan trust their own counterpart, what advice do you

have to those soldiers as they make that

command issue, I mean command issue, I mean I will speak down through the chain of

command about my expectations that the job continues. We've

been in this position before, we've we've worked our way through it so we know what to do on the field in terms of our knowledge

of the people, the relationship

we struck up, there are other

assets we have available in the

field that will help us understand what's going on in

the ANA. I don't take about

those because they're those because they're sensitive but we'll put everything to

work to make sure that our

soldiers continue to be able to do the job in mentoring the ANA. Thank you very much, everyone. That was the Defence

Minister Stephen Smith and

Defence Force Chief General

David Hurley holding a conference in Perth about the

killing of 3 Australian

soldiers by a member of the

Afghan National Army, the 3 men

were members of the were members of the mentoring

task force 3 that were mentoring Afghan soldiers in southern

southern Afghanistan. There is no indication yet of what

motivated the attack. General

Hurley said he wants to reassure the families of those

soldiers that Defence will care for weeks. And they've asked that

the men's names not be released

at this stage. Of the 7 wounded soldiers one has

life-threatening wounds, 4 have

serious injure Is and one has

minor injuries. The critically injured soldier is likely to be

transferred to Germany for further medical treatment and General Hurley says an extensive investigation is under way to determine the circumstances of the incident

and has warned people not to

jump to conclusions. He u says

he understands abincident like about Australia's role. about Australia's role. These

deaths bring the total deaths bring the total of Australians killed in

Afghanistan to 32. It's the

second fatal incident involving

an attack by an attack by an Afghan soldier. Stephen Smith has offered his

condolences to the soldiers'

families. Opposition Leader

Tony Abbott has spoken about this latest incident in Afghanistan during a press

conference in Melbourne. The

latest news out of Afghanistan

is tragic indeed. Australia has

lost 3 brave soldiers. brings to 32 the total number

of Australians lost in the

conflict. It brings home to us

the enormous dangers that our armed forces face in Afghanistan. Still, Afghanistan. Still, they are there fighting there fighting freedom's fight.

They are doing important and

necessary work, it's in

Australia's national interest to uphold Australia's national values and the Coalition, our

prayers, our thoughts are with

the families and the comrades of these of these brave soldiers at this time, but we fully support the continuation of our mission

there. That is Tony Abbott.

Well, we are expecting a press conference from the Prime Minister Julia Gillard at

around mid day eastern time and we'll bring that to you live. Joining Joining me now from Joining me now from our studios in Canberra

in Canberra is Rups perkz in Canberra is Rups perkz l sksmed ecked incident of a member of the Afghan National the Afghan National army attacks Australians, does undermine the task force? It's

goes to the heart of what we're

going and that is raising the effectivitiness of the national army which St Based

army which St Based in Oruzgan province. There are strong issues of trust when our troops

are doing the sort of work are doing the sort of work that

they're doing which is living

in these forward patrol bases

with Afghan soldiers and facing a potentially lethal enemy

outside the wire. So when an egregious and truthful awful

incident like this happens it gets gets to the nub of why we're

there. That is the issue, isn't

it? These soldiers while

fighting forward are now looking over their soldiers? Yes, I mean there's

no other way to describe it. It's one of the risks and

unfortunately this is unfortunately this is the second time this second time this year that

we've experienced it and

obviously this incident is far

worse now with the deaths of 3 personnel and 7 others that are wounded. Inevitably people wounded. Inevitably people will

say enough is enough, it's time

to bring the soldiers home, Defence Minister Stephen Smith

says if we leave terrorism will

flourish in the region, is he right? Look, the reason we're there is to stabilise

Afghanistan. We're conducting expansive