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    Defence head Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston says Australian soldiers at a checkpoint were acting in self defence when they opened fire on two men who subsequently turned out to be Afghan policemen.

    Not a difficult shot

    Air Chief Marshal Houston admitted Defence was wrong in a press statement which said the two were not in uniform and it now appeared one was wearing a police shirt.

    The two were riding on a motorcycle towards a vehicle checkpoint manned by Australian soldiers north of their base at Tarin Kowt in early August.

    When they failed to respond to verbal and visual signals to stop, soldiers opened fire, killing one man, Safratullah Ghani who was shot 16 times, and wounding the other.

    Air Chief Marshal Houston said it appeared the one wearing the police shirt was on the rear of the motorcycle where he could not have been seen by soldiers.

    He said the soldiers had a split second to decide whether they posed a threat.
    (from AAP 2009)

    Looked at realistically, there would have been an element of urgency about the whole thing. We constantly read of suicide bombers, on foot, in cars and trucks, on horseback and whatever, sidling up to their victims and detonating their insane explosive devices (IEDs).

    The real lesson here and the approach which should be taken by the Australian Defense Forces, is to impress upon the Afghanis that stop doesn’t mean maybe and they will not get a second chance. Nor time to shout “Duck, Sir!”

    As a badged Marksman I would have to say, 16 is pretty good grouping!


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