Five Australian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan
August 30, 2012- Australia was hit with its worst losses in armed forces in close to forty years when five soldiers were killed this week in Afghanistan. The death prompted Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister to return to the country early from a Pacific leader’s regional conference.
The coalition, led by NATO forces, said that three of the Australian troops were killed on Wednesday by a man wearing an army uniform. Just this year, 45 NATO led troops have been killed in rogue shootings. Later officials from Australia said two other troops had been killed during a helicopter crash on Thursday.
The emotional Prime Minister said that the news would be shocking to the entire country of Australia. She said she would shorten her visit at the conference and return on Thursday ahead of schedule due to the five deaths.
The large increase in rogue shootings and other killings has increased the pressure on members of the NATO led coalition and made many of them fast track plans to withdraw. The current timetable has the majority of combat troops leaving Afghanistan before the end of 2014.
Polls taken in Australia overwhelmingly show that Australians want their combat troops pulled out of Afghanistan, although Gillard said there would not be an early exit by the country’s troops. She said the troops would see through their time there.
Last week, officials from New Zealand said they would accelerate their timetable of withdrawing their troops, when three were killed by a bomb last week.