TRANSCRIPT: PRESS CONFERENCE WITH CHIEF OF DEFENCE FORCE GENERAL DAVID HURLEY
TRANSCRIPTION: PROOF COPY AND E & EO
TOPIC: Three Australian soldiers killed, seven wounded in Forward Operating Base shooting incident
STEPHEN SMITH: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, we have some very sad news this morning. I will ask the Chief of the Defence Force, General Hurley, to make some remarks. I will then make some remarks, and then we'll respond to your questions. General?
DAVID HURLEY: Minister, thank you. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. It is with deep regret and sorrow that I confirm this morning that three Australian soldiers have been killed in action in Afghanistan and seven of their colleagues have been wounded.
The men were members of Mentoring Task Force 3 and Combined Team Uruzgan, who were mentoring their 6th Kandak counterparts at a forward operating base in Sorkh Bed in southern Afghanistan. The mentoring task force has been conducting mobile mentoring at that forward operating base periodically since September.
At approximately 8.30 Afghan local time in the morning, or about 3pm Australian Eastern Time, a member of the Afghan National Army opened fire with an automatic weapon on a number of Australian and ANA soldiers participating in a regular parade. One Afghan interpreter was also killed; two other Afghan interpreters and an ANA soldier were wounded. Australian soldiers, including some of those who were wounded, engaged the gunman, who was subsequently shot and killed.
The wounded soldiers and the interpreter were treated at the scene and transferred by helicopter to nearby ISAF medical centres for emergency treatment. We have notified the soldiers' next of kin of those killed and wounded.
The commander of the 4th Brigade Afghan National Army, Brigadier General Mohammad Zafar Khan, ordered this morning - correction, yesterday, the disarming of all 6th Kandak personnel, and confined all members to their barracks.
The commanding officer of the mentoring task force, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Smith, moved forward to the forward operating base to coordinate the response to the incident, and ensure that enhanced security measures had been implemented.
Brigadier General Khan's swift action with the 6th Kandak enabled soldiers from both nations to focus on support and care for those who were wounded. With regard to those who were killed in this incident their next of kin have asked that I do not release the personal details of their loved ones at this time. However, I can tell you a little about the background of each of these men.
The first soldier was a corporal who was on his first deployment, having served on Operation Flood Assist in January.
The second soldier was a captain. This was his second deployment to Afghanistan with a mentoring taskforce. He had also served on Operation Yasi Assist earlier this year. The third soldier was a lance corporal who had served three tours in East Timor and was on his first deployment in Afghanistan.
It is difficult to find words to express our profound sorrow and sense of loss at this time. On behalf of the entire defence community, I extend our deepest sympathies to the three families, friends and comrades. I have also received this morning condolences from the chairman of the United States Joint Chief of Staff, General Dempsey, and also from the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Admiral Stavridis, at our loss.
I want to reassure the families that we will care for you and support you over the days, the months and the years ahead.
This is an extremely difficult time for these families, and I ask that you respect their privacy and give them time and space to grieve.
With regard to our wounded soldiers, as of this morning, one soldier is being treated for life-threatening wounds, four are being treated for serious wounds and another two treated for minor wounds. They are receiving the best support available in an ISAF medical facility.
It is likely the most seriously wounded will be moved to Landstuhl Medical Centre in Germany for further treatment in the coming days. The ADF will ensure these men continue to receive the best possible medical care, and we will work with their families to ensure that the wounded soldiers have the support required to help them to recover.
I understand that, given the nature of this attack, there will be a natural response to question our role in mentoring the Afghan national army. However, we must be careful not to jump to conclusions. An extensive investigation is commencing so that we can develop an accurate understanding of the circumstances surrounding this incident. We will work closely with our ANA colleagues during this investigation.
I also want to assure you that we are taking the necessary steps to protect our Australian personnel on the ground in Afghanistan, but it is critical that we show restraint and reserve our judgements until the investigation is complete. Our priorities in Afghanistan must be the care of our wounded, the protection of our people, and bringing these three courageous soldiers home to their families. And at home we will honour our commitment to provide support to each soldier's family.
As I'm sure you will understand, our troops in Afghanistan are in shock and they are in pain, but they are tough and they are resilient. I know that in these difficult circumstances they will find the strength and the determination to continue their mission and to honour their mates.
STEPHEN SMITH: Thank you, General Hurley. Well, ladies and gentlemen, three terrible fatalities, seven Australian soldiers wounded, this is a terrible blow to our nation. This will reverberate throughout the country today and in the days and weeks ahead. Can I, together with General Hurley, offer condolences to the three families concerned and also our support to the families of our seven wounded soldiers.
Can I also offer our condolences as a nation to the family of the Afghan interpreter who was also killed in this terrible attack. These three tragic fatalities bring to 32 the number of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, 11 this year. And, with seven wounded in this incident, we now have a total of 209 Australians wounded in Afghanistan, some 44 this year.
And can I reaffirm and underline what General Hurley has said, the families of the three deceased soldiers, the families of the seven wounded soldiers, will be given every possible support in the days, months and years ahead. And in the mean time our wounded soldiers will receive the best possible medical care.
As General Hurley has said, whenever there is a fatality in Afghanistan, the Australian community quite rightly questions our commitment to Afghanistan. Let me make a number of points in that respect. We continue to be in Afghanistan because we believe it is in Australia's national security and national interests to be there, helping, together with a United Nations mandated International Security Assistance Force, helping the international community to stare down international terrorism.
Despite terrible setbacks like today, we believe we are making progress, both in terms of training and mentoring the Afghan National security forces in Uruzgan and in Afghanistan generally, to be in a position to transition to Afghan-led security responsibility by 2014.
This is important because in the course of this year, the so-called northern summer fighting season, the Taliban, both in Uruzgan province and in Afghanistan generally, have failed to retake any ground taken from them over the last 18 months or so. I have been saying all year that we expected the Taliban to resort to high-profile propaganda motivated attacks, which we've seen all too regularly in the course of this year.
There are some particular circumstances which attend to this terrible blow. To our soldiers in Afghanistan, to Army, to our Defence organisation generally and to our nation, let me deal with those.
Firstly, we are seeing multiple fatalities. Three fatalities and seven wounded makes it - together with the terrible helicopter crash in Kandahar in June of last year, where we saw the deaths of Privates Aplin, Chuck and Palmer, and seven Australian service men wounded is the largest single adverse incident in Afghanistan.
The toll will reverberate through the nation. It is a terrible and tragic blow. This will of course be the largest single incident involving firearms or gunshot. Secondly, because it involves a member of the ANA, this is a very particular circumstance, and will be the subject, as General Hurley has said, of a full and complete investigation by the Defence Force. We will do that in cooperation with the International Security Assistance Force, with ISAF.
You will remember the incident last year - this year, May of this year, with Lance Corporal Andrew Jones, who was terribly killed by an Afghan National Army soldier. In the aftermath of that attack, the chief of the Defence Force, and the defence organisation reviewed all of the arrangements so far as Australian personnel in Afghanistan, dealing with the Afghan National Army members are concerned.
Those circumstances will again be reviewed. We will also call upon ISAF to further review its procedures and its arrangements so far as recruitment and service of Afghan National Security Force members are concerned. This will be done, as I say, in an exhaustive and comprehensive way, so far as Australia is concerned.
This is the first occasion on which members of our mentoring and training task force have been killed outside of Uruzgan.
This brings the tally now of fatalities in Afghanistan to 32. Over ten of those have been fatally killed outside of Uruzgan. We've seen deaths in Kandahar, in Zabul and in Helmand.
But this is the first occasion is respect of which we've seen members of our mentoring and training task force outside of Uruzgan. And as General Hurley has advised, this is part of a mobile mentoring and training task force, which from time to time goes to the patrol base concerned, south of the Uruzgan border.
I detailed this arrangement in my last parliamentary report earlier this month on the thirteenth of October - 32 fatalities, 209 woundings. This is a terrible toll for our nation. The terrible events that General Hurley and I have announced today will reverberate throughout the nation.
A terrible blow, and a terrible reminder to 29 other families. As General Hurley has indicated, the three families concerned at this stage did not want their family members indentified. We will respect their privacy, and at an appropriate time make detailed announcements with respect to the three fatalities. General Hurley and I are happy to respond to your questions.
Just - just hang on. We're happy to respond to your questions. Let's do this in an orderly way: Andrew, and then David.
QUESTION: Minister, [indistinct] the reports coming out of Afghanistan overnight would be that the man who killed the troops and injured seven others had been with the ANA and with the Coalition forces for about three years. Is that your understanding? And secondly, when will the ANA soldier be rearmed, and what will the circumstances be before that happens?
DAVID HURLEY: In relation to the first question, we've only received the same information you would have read in the papers that came out or over the wire last night. I don't have any further information to confirm or deny that at the present time. The investigation will reveal that. But I don't think he was a new member of the ANA, so I think he had previous service.
In relation to the rearming of the 6th Kandak, that's really going to be a call by the commander of the 4th Brigade General Zafar, but obviously we'll talk to him as we approach that, and work out what the conditions will be. There's a confidence issue here that needs to be worked through, so we need to just take our time on that. Understanding it's less than 24 hours since this incident.
STEPHEN SMITH: Before going to David, can I make just one more remark? This is not the only terrible news coming out of Afghanistan. Overnight we've seen in Kabul a terrible car bomb attack where up to as many as 16 deaths have occurred including soldiers and civilians. The precise numbers are not yet known, but some are certainly United States soldiers.
Just as General Hurley has received contact from his counterparts, can I just indicate that this morning US Secretary for Defence Leon Panetta rang to express his condolences on the attack, and I indicated to him that I'd make his condolences public to the Australian people, and I was very grateful to receive that phone call early this morning.
Likewise of course I also extended our condolences for the United States loss in the attack overnight. David?
QUESTION: On that attack, is there any suspicion on the part of you, or Secretary Panetta indeed, that there was any coordination in the timing of these two incidents, the suicide bombing in Kabul and the attack that we've seen on the Australian forces? And secondly, on the decision to disarm those members of the 6th Kandak, talk us through the reasoning, if you can, for making that decision. Did Australia have any input in asking for that to happen? Is there a fear that there might be further enemy infiltration of the campaign?
STEPHEN SMITH: Well in terms of whether there's a link, obviously we're in the aftermath of two terrible attacks; one in Kabul itself, and one in the south. There is nothing obvious which would indicate a link, but we will of course bear that in mind as we do our exhaustive and comprehensive assessment. What we do know is that, as I stated earlier, it is part of the Taliban tactic now, because they have been unable to make up ground, to resort to high profile suicide bomb propaganda motivated attack.
The motivation is reduced confidence, to see an ebbing of confidence, to see a loss and a lack of political will. Whether the two are related, time will tell, but there is nothing obvious which would draw that conclusion. It's a regrettable feature of Afghanistan in a continuing way that these terrible incidences occur. I'll leave General Hurley to comment on the tale of the disarming.
QUESTION: Thank you.
DAVID HURLEY: David, in relation to the disarming of 6th Kandak this is a decision made by General Zafar himself. I believe he is quite distressed at the incident, and concerned, and I think he probably took that action trying to get in his mind to ensure that the - it stopped where it - at that incident, and until he could got on top of things down there, he's disarmed, confined them to barracks - take away as much of the risk he can, I think, from that environment.
STEPHEN SMITH: Sorry. One here, and then…
QUESTION: A question to you both. I know it's early on at the moment, but is there any indication that this was an argument that sparked this shooting, rather than a planned attack by a Taliban or an insurgent that infiltrated into the ANA and planned this attack, or was it more likely something that just happened at a whim; there was an argument, then a fight?
DAVID HURLEY: In short, we don't know at the moment. And it goes to my point; let's not jump to conclusions here. We simply don't know what was the motive for this; reasons, at all.
STEPHEN SMITH: In the earlier terrible case of Lance Corporal Andrew Jones, you recall that we were very keen to try and get a sense of the motivation that Shafied Ullah had. In the event, he was killed. We at the time were able to interview his brother but his brother was not in a position to shed any light on his motivation.
As the General has said, we don't want to leap to any conclusions. Whilst I've said in response to David's question that there's no apparent or obvious link between the two terrible events coming out of Afghanistan overnight, we have an open mind about that.
We will do a comprehensive investigation in cooperation with our International Security Assistance Force and also in cooperation with the Afghan National Army.
QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up to that. Was there any information that this soldier was a bad soldier? Did he have a good reputation in the ANA, or what sort of person - was he liked?
DAVID HURLEY: Again we have no details on him in relation to that. In answer to my first question I think he'd been in the ANA for a period. Not a new recruit, but I have no background information at the moment.
STEPHEN SMITH: Lyndal?
QUESTION: General Hurley, presumably however long this soldier was in the ANA, he was known to the Australians he was working with. You said there was a confidence issue, but Australian soldiers work in great uncertainty all the time.
What is this likely to do to the Australian soldiers' confidence in the people they are training?
DAVID HURLEY: Well I think there'll be a natural period now where people are apprehensive about what the working relationship is like. I think that will be quite natural, and I'll be looking to the commanders in the field over there. They need to work their way through this because, very much at the heart of our mission is the mentoring and training of the Afghan National Army.
Now after Corporal Jones' death, which had a similar effect, we managed to rebuild and I was only over there about three weeks ago and could see a quite natural camaraderie and working relationship in the patrol base I visited. It's hard to get there and maintain that, and this will rake a lot of work on both sides to get us back to that type of relationship.
STEPHEN SMITH: Can I just add to that? In Afghanistan itself we have just over 300,000 Afghan National Security Force members, made up of Afghan National Army members, and police. In Uruzgan, we have nearly 7000 Afghan National Security Forces: between 3,500 and 4000 Afghan National Army, the rest police. And so, whilst the number of incidences of this nature are relatively small, when they do occur they do send a shock wave.
There's no point retreating from that analysis. We've had one up until now, and that caused us to do the exhaustive reviews that I've referred to. Two will send a similar shock wave through the system. Now if this is a Taliban infiltrator then clearly the motivation is aimed at that as well, but I'm not, as the General is not, seeking to prejudge that in any way.
But I referred earlier - that there are particular circumstances about this terrible day, and that is one of them. And that is why we will do the exhaustive analysis, and why we'll also ask ISAF to continue to review the arrangements that it has in place for recruitment and the like.
STEPHEN SMITH: Sorry. There's one here and then I'll come back over to you.
QUESTION: Minister, you said that this loss is a terrible toll for our nation and that many people will be very upset by this today. What do you directly say to Australians who say that the toll is now high enough, we should leave [inaudible]?
STEPHEN SMITH: Well, three things. Firstly it is no surprise and will not be a surprise that in the aftermath of any fatality, particularly a multiple fatality like this with very tragic circumstances that the immediate reaction of the Australian people will be to question our ongoing commitment to Afghanistan. I understand that.
Secondly, our very strong view is that if we were to leave now we would run the risk of creating a vacuum into which the Taliban, the Haqqani network, the remnants of Al-Qaeda would again fall creating precisely the same danger that we are there to stare down. That the Afghanistan, in particular the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, would again become a breeding ground for international terrorism. And Australians have been on the receiving end of international terrorism whether that's been in Indonesia, in the United States or in Europe.
The third thing I say is that we are not in Afghanistan forever. We do not want to be in Afghanistan forever. Despite these terrible setbacks, we continue to believe that we are on track to transition to Afghan National Security Force responsibility for security matters by 2014 - both in Uruzgan itself, where despite this incident and the incident involving Lance Corporal Jones we believe we're on track to train and mentor the Afghan National Army in Uruzgan to be able to take that responsibility. And we've seen substantial improvement in their capacity over time.
That same analysis is shared by my International Security Assistance Force and NATO Defence Ministers in terms of Afghanistan generally. So we believe we are on track to transition to Afghan-led responsibility. We're not there forever, we don't want to be there forever, but if we were to leave now that would run the risk of creating a vacuum and all of the work that has been done over too long a period would be lost.
QUESTION: General Hurley, can I ask how many men are currently in the 6th Kandak as in how many men have been disarmed? What's the area that the 6th Kandak operate in? Is that Uruzgan or is it Kandahar [indistinct]? I can't quite remember. But also, can you explain some of the circumstances of this shooting' how it actually played out? Was this soldier who did the shooting - was he on parade also or did he appear on the scene and start shooting?
DAVID HURLEY: Okay. Just in terms of 6th Kandak, they operate across the Uruzgan Province distributed in a number of patrol bases - east, west and down south where this one is. So it's hard, on a particular day, to say how many in a particular base but that base will take up to about two companies worth. So there could be up to a couple of hundred people in there at any particular time.
In terms of the circumstances of the particular incident, don't have all the details on that at the present time as you'd appreciate but from what I understand is we're on parade with the ANA soldiers where this fellow opened fire. I believe he was not participating in the parade but I don't have any further detail than that.
STEPHEN SMITH: At the back. Sorry, at the back.
QUESTION: How long do you expect the review to take of this? Will it be the same length of time as after the previous shooting given [inaudible]?
STEPHEN SMITH: Well, I wouldn't be putting a timetable on it. We'll do it in an exhaustive and comprehensive way. It'll obviously require consultation and co-operation with International Security Assistance Force, with ISAF, with the Afghan National Army both on the ground and generally. I'm not proposing to put a timetable on it.
What we want to do is to do an exhaustive assessment to see whether there are any lessons that we can learn which can minimise the risk of this occurring again.
QUESTION: General Hurley, can I ask of any wider security procedures that have been put in place across Afghanistan or across Uruzgan for Australian soldiers in terms of dealing with ANA in terms of - have joint patrols been suspended across the operating area? Have the units been segregated in any way, shape or form?
DAVID HURLEY: There's been no - it's my knowledge no action of that nature taken. We're really concentrating on this particular location at the moment.
QUESTION: Just on the incident itself, the ANA soldier who was shot - was he just shot by one Australian soldier or did a number of Australian soldiers return fire on him?
DAVID HURLEY: Again, the reporting at the moment simply says that the Australians in location returned fire.
QUESTION: But if you were on parade General, does that mean that you're armed? If you're on parade and those soldiers have got weapons.
DAVID HURLEY: You're going to a level of detail I don't have…
QUESTION: He wasn't shooting unarmed men, was he?
DAVID HURLEY: He may have been. I don't know.
STEPHEN SMITH: There's one on this side and then we'll come back.
QUESTION: General Hurley, you described that the Australians were putting in place enhanced security measures on this base. Does that mean that the Afghan soldiers are effectively now under Australian guard?
DAVID HURLEY: They have been confined to barracks and we have a presence there. I think - I wouldn't put it under guard. I would simply say they've been asked to stay with the senior leadership would be looking after them and present there. Telling them to stay in barracks until we make sure that we've gathered the evidence we need and so forth. I wouldn't say they're under guard, they've just been ordered back to barracks.
QUESTION: So, just to be clear it's not all ANA soldiers in Uruzgan Province?
DAVID HURLEY: No, it's this particular…
QUESTION: About 200 ANA soldiers…
DAVID HURLEY: Yeah, it's the 6th Kandak people operating in that area that've been disarmed.
STEPHEN SMITH: One here…
QUESTION: How long have we been operating in that specific location and then what is the updated total of Australian soldiers in Uruzgan at the moment?
DAVID HURLEY: The patrol base has been occupied by the 6th Kandak since about July. We only commenced our mobile mentoring into that patrol base in about September visiting on two to three - for a period of two or three days to do training with them or going down for a bit longer if there's a specific task they need to be done and we'll spend time with them.
STEPHEN SMITH: Whilst we do out of province operations, which my predecessor John Faulkner has put on the record, generally they are special forces. Because this was the first occasion which training and mentoring was done out of province, below south of the border, on General Hurley's advice I approved that and then report to the National Security Committee. And because it was a training and mentoring out of province operation for the first occasion I indicated that to the Parliament in my last parliamentary report which from memory was mid-October - 13 October I think.
There's one at the back.
QUESTION: How many… At this point in time, are any Australian soldiers working with armed Afghan soldiers?
DAVID HURLEY: I would assume so. Yes.
STEPHEN SMITH: Yes.
DAVID HURLEY: Well the whole force is armed and the whole force who's operating with Afghan soldiers would be continuing to do so. So, we've only talked about disarming a particular location, a particular unit.
QUESTION: And just further to that, are you able to say to all of those Australian soldiers who today are continuing to work alongside Afghan National Army counterparts, they should have complete trust in them?
DAVID HURLEY: I think each of those have built their own working relationships in those bases. They know the people; they know how to respond. Now, I can't direct them from Canberra or from Perth about how they're to behave in the battlefield, that's what I pay the commanders to do. So, in each of those areas they'll know what actions they need to take in relation to this.
QUESTION: With regards to the 6th Kandak, this is - if I understand this correctly - you're saying that they, we have had involvement with them before but usually SAS level and that this is the first time…
STEPHEN SMITH: No, no, no.
QUESTION: …We've had them touring.
STEPHEN SMITH: My predecessors and I have put on the public record that from time to time we do what is described as out of province operations, in other words outside of the boundaries of the province of Uruzgan. In the main they are special forces operations and in the past I've indicated that that occurs with respect to Helmand, with Kandahar, Zabul, Daykundi - I've put that, as have my predecessors on the public record.
On this occasion, for the first occasion a mobile training and mentoring taskforce was authorised to go south of the border to this patrol base in the manner in which the General has outlined. Because it was the first occasion we had authorised a mentoring and training taskforce membership to go outside of province I put that on the parliamentary record. And that has been the situation with respect to this particular patrol base or forward operating base since September.
QUESTION: The significance being that it's the first time that we've ventured outside of Uruzgan with regular troops…
STEPHEN SMITH: For training and mentoring, yes.
QUESTION: For training and mentoring you say.
STEPHEN SMITH: Yes.
QUESTION: Why was that decision taken to train and mentor outside?
DAVID HURLEY: Particularly with the patrol base on the main route from Kandahar and to Tarin Kowt so it's our lifeline in terms of re-supply. And so part of the Afghan National Army's plan to secure that route is to have patrol bases along the route. The nearest one is the one we're talking about to TK - it fits more neatly into the 4th Brigade's operating area so we had the discussions. They came to us, asked, we had the discussions about how we might do that.
Cognisant that it is outside the provincial boundaries of Uruzgan, obviously, we went to government to discuss the issue. I looked at it and from a military point of view I thought it was appropriate that the 4th brigade actually run that [indistinct] base. We didn't need to sit with them 24 hours a day to do the job so we went into a mobile form of mentoring.
STEPHEN SMITH: But the principle is the same, the principle so far as the out of province special forces operations is not just that it brings a benefit to Afghanistan generally but it has beneficial implications for security in Uruzgan. And so the same principle applied with respect to training and mentoring of the 6th Kandak of the fourth brigade in this patrol base, or forward operating base just south of the border. It has beneficial or positive security implications for Uruzgan itself.
Last one here.
QUESTION: Will this type of mentoring, the out of province mentoring be suspended now for a while whilst it's being investigated? Also, once again what are the specific number of Australia soldiers currently operating in Afghanistan.
STEPHEN SMITH: Well we have on average 1550 contribution in Afghanistan. The bulk of that is in Uruzgan, but we do have people in Kabul and also people in Kandahar for aviation purposes. But it's on average 1500, that hasn't changed for some time.
In terms of out of province operations for mentoring and training, this is the only occasion which the matter has arisen, and in future instances would come to me in the same way. Namely that the Chief of the Defence Force came to the conclusion that this had beneficial outcomes not just for training and mentoring the 4th brigade of the Afghan National Army, which is our primary task in Uruzgan, but also had beneficial implications for security in Uruzgan.
The fact that it was the first occasion was why I put it on the public record. We for all of the obvious reasons put in advance particular special forces operations on the public record, but we do on a regular basis put on the public record the fact that on a regular basis our special forces do operate outside of the physical boundaries of Uruzgan.
QUESTION: Can you just clarify how long had these soldiers who are shot been there at this forward operating base? Was it days, was it weeks?
STEPHEN SMITH: That detail I don't know. We've had members going there, mentoring and taskforce members going there since September.
QUESTION: But on and off…
STEPHEN SMITH: On and off.
DAVID HURLEY: So they hadn't been there for a long period. As I said they only go down for a two or three day period.
QUESTION: So they'd been there two or three days?
DAVID HURLEY: Possibly, I'm not quite sure of that detail, but they wouldn't have been there for too long I don't believe.
QUESTION: And fallen soldiers are normally brought home, correct me if I'm wrong, on Qantas flights, is that going to be a problem?
DAVID HURLEY: No, we've never brought them back in my lifetime with Qantas. We'll bring them back on our aircraft.
QUESTION: Just on that issue, are you considering any military flights at all.
STEPHEN SMITH: We're dealing with Afghanistan, [indistinct] other issues.
QUESTION: [Indistinct] saying that Australian soldiers in Afghanistan could trust their ANA counterparts, what advice do you have to those soldiers as they make that judgement?
DAVID HURLEY: This is a command issue, I will speak down through the chain of command about my expectations that the job continues. We've been in this position before, we've worked our way through it so we know what to do in the field in terms of our knowledge of the people, the relationship we've struck up. There are other assets we have available in the field that will help us understand what's going on in the ANA, I don't talk about those becaus