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Aussie troops may face court martial

Aug. 26, 2010 at 4:00 PM   |   Comments

SYDNEY, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- A military prosecutor says she may pursue charges against several Australian troops in a raid in Afghanistan last year in which five children died.

Brig. Lyn McDade, the director of military prosecutions, says she is considering the unprecedented step of charging several Defense Force commandos, a move that has infuriated senior officers, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Thursday.

Australia's Chief of Army Lt. Gen. Ken Gillespie and other commanders have expressed concern in writing, the newspaper said.

Of about 30 personnel involved in the raid, only a few appear likely to face court martial, including two soldiers who engaged in the attack, one of whom is alleged to have thrown a grenade.

The troops were reportedly on a ''capture or kill'' mission targeting an insurgent leader near the village of Surkh Morghab in Oruzgan province.

A small group of soldiers exchanged fire with an Afghan man who died, and grenades were thrown that resulted in the deaths of a teenager, two younger children and two infants, the Herald said.

A senior member of the Australian Defense Force regiment involved defended those who took part in the mission.

''If the ADF bothers to describe the events in the compound in detail, it will be clear to any person that the troops, faced with a terrible situation, had no choice,'' the soldier said.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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