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Afghan killings send Aussies to court

27 August 2010 6:36

Several Australian commandoes may be charged with the death of five children during a raid in Afghanistan’s southern province of Oruzgan, media reports say.

The incident happened last year when the troops were sent on a ”capture or kill” mission targeting an insurgent leader in the province, the Sydney Morning Herald said on Friday.

In an exchange of fire near the village of Surkh Morghab, the troops killed an Afghan man, and threw grenades, killing a teenager, two young children and two babies.

Other women and children were also wounded, the report adds.

Of around the 30 personal reportedly involved in the attack only a few will face charges at a court martial headed by Director of Military Prosecutions Brigadier Lyn McDade.

“The Director of Military Prosecutions is continuing her consideration on this matter and a final decision is yet to be determined regarding the potential of disciplinary action,” the Australian military said in a statement.

Australian forces in Afghanistan have lost 21 service members since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001.

This is while a new UN report says that during the first six months of 2010, the number of civilians killed or seriously injured has risen by 31 percent.

Children and women are increasingly paying the cost, the report showed.

Female casualties rose six per cent between January and June, while child casualties have jumped 55 per cent over the year before.

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