PM Expresses Sadness Over Afghan Attacks

The Prime Minister has expressed his “sadness” at the deaths of Australian, US and Canadian personnel in Afghanistan.

On Friday, Australians Corporal Ashley Birt, 22, Lance Corporal Luke Gavin, 27, and Captain Bryce Duffy, 26, were shot dead by an Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier who opened fire after a routine weekly parade on Saturday morning in the southern province of Kandahar.

Another seven Australian soldiers were wounded, one with life-threatening injuries, and an Afghan interpreter also lost his life.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, a Taliban suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into an armoured NATO bus on Saturday on a busy thoroughfare in Kabul, killing 17 people, including a dozen Americans.

David Cameron said of the attacks: “I have spoken to Prime Minister Gillard and sent a message to President Obama and Prime Minister Harper to express my sadness and revulsion at the deaths of a number of Australian, US and Canadian service and civilian personnel in Afghanistan yesterday.

"The wounded and the families and friends of all those involved, including Afghan civilians, are in our thoughts.

Mr Cameron added that high casualty attacks like these were a "deliberate tactic" to distract Afghans and the international community alike from work underway that threatens the extremists.

"Britain and its allies will remain resolute in seeing through the job of building up Afghan forces, delivering security and finding a path to a stable, constitutional and inclusive political future. This is the best way to honour the sacrifice of those who died yesterday.”

A spokesman for the fundamentalist Islamic movement, which was ousted in the 2001 invasion for its affiliation with al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack, saying the bomber had used 1,540 pounds (700 kilograms) of explosives.


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