By: Ian McPhedran
March 30, 2011
The five-year-old was shot when a joint Australian-Afghan patrol was engaged by four insurgents on Sunday.
When the smoke cleared one insurgent fighter lay dead and the boy was found by the Australian troops in a critical condition, suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest.
Immediate first aid was applied and he was flown to hospital at the Australian base in Tarin Kowt before being transferred by air with his father to a 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, which included small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.
An investigation has begun 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 spokesman said.
Taliban fighters often use locals as human shields when they attack Australian patrols and dozens of civilians have been killed during firefights in Oruzgan Province.
Australian forces always pay compensation or “act of grace” payments to locals after any death or injury caused by Australian troops.
It is understood the payments range from $200 for a minor injury to $1200 for a death.