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Aussie troops in Afghanistan face deadly environment, says Rudd

By Bernama,

Melbourne : Australian troops in Afghanistan face a deadly environment with little prospect of an early improvement of the situation, Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warns.

Afghanistan remains a dangerous and difficult place and Australia must steel itself for further military casualties, Rudd said following the death an Australian commando in battle this week.

“My responsibility as prime minister is to be upfront and direct with the Australian people and not to mince words about how difficult and dangerous and bloody it is,” he told the Fairfax Radio Network.

“I went there … to visit the troops just after being sworn in as prime minister just before Christmas last year and was briefed by the field commanders there about the nature of the operations,” he said.

“It’s difficult, it’s dangerous and it’s bloody. They’re up against the Taliban and these people are experienced fighters.”

The Taliban were fuelled with “mad messianic zeal”, Rudd said.

“So it would be wrong for me to say that things are going to get better in terms of the security environment just now.”

Rudd said he had spoken to the field commander of the commando group which lost Lance Corporal Jason Marks during fighting on Sunday. “He reported back to me that the morale of the troops is high. They are a highly committed group. The attitude they’ve got to the job they’ve been given is highly professional.”