Australia has suffered its worst military losses for almost 50 years. Early today in the UK there were reports that five Australian soldiers had been killed in Adfghanistan, in separate incidents.
In the first, three soldiers were killed in what is often called a "green on blue" attack. These are when the killer or attacker is a local person in uniform and the victim a member of the foreign forces in the country.
As the three men relaxed, at their base in the southern Uruzgan province, an Afghan in uniform opened fire. The Afghan soldier turned his gun on them killing all three. Two more soldiers were injured in the attack, in which an automatic weapon was used at close range. Other military personnel who were at the scene opened fire on the Afghan soldier but he escaped. A manhunt is underway. Hours later two Australian soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand province.
Australia provides a large military presence in Afghanistan. These forces are outside of the NATO alliance of countries and so forgotten by many in the media. Australia has 1,550 troops on the ground in Afghanistan.
The bloody antics of insurgents in Afghanistan has increased this year. Thy appear to be targeting the "training" mission by launching a series of "insider" attacks. These "green on blue" killings undermine the training of Afghan military personnel and reduce confidence.
Top ranking military personnel in the US claim that the war in Afghanistan is being won but it does not seem that way when you view the increasing number of attacks by disillusioned, angry or rebel Afghans.
Early in 2012 there were incidents such as the burning of the Koran by US military personnel and the murder of 17 civilians allegedly by a rogue US soldier. Green on blue attacks have increased since then. Obviously a war lasting more than ten years will have many more incidents, on all sides.
To date, so far in 2012, 45 soldiers have been killed in insider attacks This figure is much higher than for all of 2011.