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WORLD NEWS 13
Army February 4, 2010
AN INQUIRY into an incident that
killed four Afghans and wounded two
in Oruzgan province on April 27 and
28 last year has found ADF personnel
complied with the rules of engagement
governing immediate targeting.
Chief of Joint Operations Lt-Gen
Mark Evans initiated an inquiry fol-
lowing claims the people killed were
farmers doing irrigation work at night
and not, as believed, Afghans laying
The inquiry officer concluded that,
on the balance of probabilities, it was
likely the people engaged were plac-
The inquiry found that during the
conduct of the pre-approved opera-
tion, eight individuals were observed
acting suspiciously along a footpad
about 9.30pm on April 27 in a particu-
lar area where insurgents are active.
The group was observed for more
than three hours and the targets were
then engaged using close air support.
The CO received positive identi-
fication of the targets on three occa-
sions before authorising the engage-
ment and the inquiry found he took
all reasonable steps to confirm he was
targeting insurgents laying IEDs.
Inquiry into Afghan deaths
A MAJOR operation being conduct-
ed by Australian and Afghan National
Army forces is being hailed as the start
of a bright future for the people of the
Mirabad Valley region.
More than 30 caches have been found
since Operation Pelatel Man'a started on
The contents included IED compo-
nents, rocket propelled grenades, mortars,
home-made explosives and thousands of
rounds of small arms ammunition.
MRTF 2 CO Lt-Col Andrew Hocking
said the findings were helping save lives.
"This is the first large deliberate oper-
ation in what has been an insurgent and
IED hotspot," Lt-Col Hocking said.
"The great thing about this operation
is it was planned, executed and will be
reviewed in partnership with the ANA,"
Following the initial clearance phase,
MRTF 2, ANA, Dutch soldiers and other
ISAF partners concentrated on gain-
ing the support of the population in the
broader Mirabad Valley and met with
Lt-Col Hocking said once the Afghan
MRTF members formally paid
respects to eight Afghan National
Army troops killed by a roadside
bomb on January 7.
At the time of the incident, ANA
soldiers from the Australian-men-
tored 2nd Kandak were conduct-
ing a logistics task. There were
no Australian or coalition soldiers
involved in the explosion.
The bodies of the Afghan sol-
diers killed in the incident were air-
transported to Tarin Kowt where an
honour guard of MRTF members
saluted the convoy.
Chief of Joint Operations Lt-Gen
Mark Evans said the loss of the sol-
diers was a tragedy for the ANA and
the Afghan people they protect.
"The Afghan soldiers working
with the Australian mentors are dem-
onstrating courage and tenacity and
have been growing in confidence in
their capacity to provide security for
the local people," he said.
"Neither this bombing nor oth-
ers will deter our resolve to con-
tinue protecting the local people and
providing a level of security for the
ANA soldiers honoured
people trusted there would be persistent
security, it would give them more free-
dom to engage government organisations
and allow freer discussion of their needs.
"Operation Pelatel Man'a is about
convincing the population the ANA is
capable of providing security and about
commencing development to improve
the lives of the people now and into the
"To convince people the ANA and coa-
lition forces can provide security, it needs
to be more than words, it needs to be
deeds. Words are hollow in Afghanistan
as a result of its difficult history."
Uncovered: IED components found in
Paying respects: MRTF 2 soldiers salute as the fallen soldiers pass by.
Photo by Sgt Mick Davis
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