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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2701

Australian Commando killed by Afgan terrorists

By Sumane Liyanaarachchi in Sydney

Canberra, 29 April, (Asiantribune.com): An Australian army commndo was killed and four others were wounded in a gun battle with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan 27 April.

Lance –Cpl Jason Marks,27, a farther of two children and member of the 4RAR Commando Battalion, died during an attack about 25km southeast of the Australian base at Tarin Kowt.

He is the fifth Australian soldier to die in Afghanistan since 2002.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the security situation in Afghanistan is "grim" and Australians need to prepare themselves for more casualties in a "difficult, dangerous and bloody" year ahead.

"This is a dangerous and difficult operating environment for the Australian Defence Forces and it is likely to become more difficult in the period ahead” Mr Rudd told yesterday at a Canberra press conference.

"2008 will be difficult, dangerous and bloody and the Australian nation needs to prepare itself for further losses in the year ahead."

Mr Rudd said Australia's military commitment in Afghanistan was not open ended.

"I've committed this Australian government to being there for the long haul, but it's not a blank cheque - we'll continue to review this," he said.

Mr Rudd says that there will be annual reviews of Australia's troop commitment in the country.

Opposition defence spokesman Nick Minchin says the attack should strengthen Australia's resolve to keep up the fight in Afghanistan.
"It is dangerous, but that just emphasises the importance of our mission," he said.

"The reality is that our soldiers are in harm's way - and that's the reality of dealing with terrorism and insurgency in a country like Afghanistan.'

The Australia Defence Association's Neil James says troops must stay on.

"The war in Afghanistan is quite winnable as long as the Coalition doesn't lose its nerve," he said.

Lance Corporal Marks's death came against the backdrop of wider unrest in Afghanistan.

In Kabul soldiers and politicians were sent scrambling for cover when Taliban fighters launched an audacious raid on a military parade attended by President Hamid Karzai.

Three people including an Afghan MP were killed in the attack.
Violence in the country is expected to rise as the winter snows melt and the traditional campaigning season begins.

- Asian Tribune -

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