30 Oct 2011

Three Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan

5:11 pm on 30 October 2011

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the deaths of three Australian soldiers in Afghanistan mark a bitter day for the nation but her government says its troops will stay the course there.

The three were killed and seven others were wounded when an Afghan national soldier opened fire on a regular parade.

The incident occurred at Forward Operating Base Pacemaker in the Shah Wali Kot area of Kandahar province.

An Afghan interpreter was also killed in the incident.

Ms Gillard urged people not to judge the progress Australian forces were making in their training and mentoring mission in Afghanistan, on the one incident alone.

As a result of the incident hundreds of Afghan soldiers have been stripped of their weapons and confined to their barracks.

The Afghan National Army soldier gunned down the Australian members of Mentoring Task Force 3 as they were on morning parade.

Australian forces returned fire at the gunman, killing him.

The Australian Defence Force has launched an investigation to determine whether the gunman was a Taliban or terrorist infiltrator, or whether something else motivated his attack.