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Fatality in Afghanistan: statement by the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP.

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THE HON. JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence

Thursday, 19 March, 2009


Statement by the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon M.P, Blue Room, Parliament House Thursday, 19 March 2009.

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I am saddened to hear of what is now our 10th fatality in Afghanistan. Of

course, I also remember the loss of another brave Australian in Rifleman

Nash, who died while serving with the United Kingdom in Afghanistan.

This represents a tragic week for the Australian Defence Force and the

Australian people.

As the Chief of the Defence Force indicated, we will not be releasing personal

details of the latest casualty at this time in accordance with the wishes of the


But I can tell you that this soldier has made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of

his mates and in defence of his country.

In defence of you and I.

With this in mind, as difficult as tonight’s news is, we must never forget the

direct impact that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have had in our own region, and

on the lives of our fellow Australians.

Since 2000, over 100 Australian citizens have been killed in major terrorist

attacks - the perpetrators of which were trained primarily in Afghanistan or the

border region with Pakistan.

In the past Afghanistan has been the training ground for terrorists that have

killed innocent Australians.

Our best assessment is that 10 per cent of all the suspects detained for

terrorism offences in our region in the last seven years trained or fought in

Afghanistan and its border regions.

That is why we remain committed to taking the fight to the terrorists and

helping to make Afghanistan more secure and stable.

An unstable Afghanistan can be a launching pad for terror attacks, including

terror attacks on Australian citizens.

That’s why Australia has been fighting against terrorism and must continue to

fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the partner, family, friends and comrades

of this fine Australian.

Media contacts:

Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567

Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664