Australian PM vows to track down perpetrator of attack in Afghanistan (2)

14:39, May 31, 2011      

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Gillard said she understood there would be many questions asked about the incident, but emphasized Australian forces had a strong and professional relationship with their Afghanistan National Army (ANA) counterparts in Oruzgan.

"We have trained and mentored hundreds and hundreds of Fourth Brigade soldiers," she said.

"We partner with them in patrols throughout Oruzgan Province and they are becoming a more capable and professional force.

"This work is vital to our mission in Afghanistan, indeed we cannot succeed in that mission without doing this training."

Gillard would not be drawn on whether the death penalty should be imposed on the ANA attacker if he was caught.

Meanwhile, Defense force chief Angus Houston, who rejected suggestions the shooting was accidental, said the "disturbing" incident and its implications is now under investigation by Defense Force.

He maintained Australians in the mentoring taskforce were committed to their job of training the ANA.

The two soldiers' death bring to 26 the number of Australian soldier to die in Afghanistan since operations began in 2001.

Source: Xinhua
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