By: Ian McPhedran
March 30, 2011
AN Afghan boy was critically injured in a deadly gun battle between Australian troops and insurgents in Afghanistan.
The five-year-old was shot when a combined Australian Special Operations Task Group and Afghan Police Provincial Response Company patrol was engaged by a four-man force on Sunday.
When the smoke cleared, one insurgent fighter lay dead and Australian troops found the boy in a critical condition having been shot in the chest.
Immediate first aid was applied and he was flown to the Role Two hospital at Tarin Kowt before being transferred by air with his father to the specialised Role Three medical facility at Kandahar air base.
“The boy remains in a critical but stable condition,” a defence spokesman said.
It is not clear if he was with the insurgents or if he was caught in crossfire during the battle that included insurgent small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire.
An investigation was launched to find out how the boy was shot and whose bullet did the damage.
The findings of the internal military investigation will be made public, the defence spokesman said.
Taliban fighters often use locals as human shields when they attack Australian patrols.