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Diggers defeat Taliban attack in heavy fighting.



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DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by Coordination and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6265 3343, Fax: 02 62656946

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CPA 338/07 Thursday, 27 September 2007

DIGGERS DEFEAT TALIBAN ATTACK IN HEAVY FIGHTING

In their heaviest fighting to date, Australian soldiers with the Reconstruction Task Force (RTF) in Afghanistan have successfully repelled a prolonged attack by approximately 50 Taliban extremists.

RTF Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Jarvie, praised the skill and determination of his soldiers. “Over the last few months Australian soldiers have been regularly tested by Taliban extremists. In every case they have performed magnificently.”

The failed attack was one of a number of decisive defeats suffered by the Taliban in Oruzgan Province and the neighbouring Helmand Province during the past week. The attack came as the RTF was conducting a reconnaissance mission for the construction of Afghan National

Police outposts about eight kilometres north of Tarin Kowt.

Taliban extremists fired automatic weapons and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) at the Australian patrol from the cover of an orchard. The patrol immediately returned fire and then engaged in an intense confrontation with the Taliban during the next four hours. Infantry Platoon Commander Lieutenant Glenn Neilson said the Taliban had established strong firing positions and were reinforced with more fighters as the attack progressed.

“We were engaged with some very accurate fire from a range of about 300m and there were a lot of bullets coming our way. Making use of all the weapons at our disposal, including the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) and Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle (IMV), we held our ground.”

The soldiers were also able to employ Dutch F16 fighter aircraft and Apache helicopters. Afghan National Army troops that were trained by Australian Forces in Oruzgan participated in the patrol and performed admirably.

“Together we neutralised the positions that were causing us trouble,” Lieutenant Neilson said.

Another Australian platoon supported the movement of RTF troops by providing essential covering fire as soldiers moved across hazardous open ground.

The Taliban are known to have suffered heavy casualties during the incident, but the ADF will not discuss specific details. There were no civilian casualties resulting from this incident. No Australian soldiers were wounded, nor was there any damage to Australian vehicles.

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