TALIBAN fighters in Afghanistan are reportedly targeting Australian troops, with the elite Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers the prize target.
SAS troops have revealed they have come under increased attack by the Taliban’s veteran mountain fighters a day after SAS Sergeant Matthew Locke was killed in Afghanistan, News Limited newspapers report.
The Taliban were hunting SAS troops, an SAS source told News Limited.
“They (Taliban) have been wanting to kill Australians for a long time and they will keep at it – the bastards,”? the source, who cannot be named, told News Ltd.
Three Australians – Sgt Locke, Trooper David Pearce and Sgt Andrew Russell – have been killed in action and another 27 have been seriously wounded since the Afghanistan campaign began in late 2001.
‘Prepare for worse to come’
Soldiers in Afghanistan have backed the brass and political leaders who have
warned Australia to prepare for bad news as the enemy steps up its campaign
to target Australian troops.
Defence chiefs have pledged the nation’s best fighting men will not take a
backward step as they hunt down extremists.
“Our aim is not to wait for them to come to us, but to take the fight to
them,” a Defence spokesman said.
Prime Minister John Howard, who visited SAS headquarters in Perth yesterday
to pay his respects to Sgt Locke, confirmed the Taliban had stepped up its
“It’s going to to be dangerous because we are dealing with people who are
determined to re-establish a Taliban-style extremist Islamic regime,” Mr
Soldier shot in chest
Sgt Locke was on patrol with the regiment’s 3 Squadron when he was killed in
the Chora Valley, north of the base at Tarin Kowt – not far from the site of
his courageous deeds in June 2006 that won him the Medal for Gallantry.
He was on foot and leading the way in Operation Spin Ghar (white mountain)
when he was shot in the chest.
His mates described him as a professional.
“Locky did his job very well and was well respected. I never heard a bad
word against him,” one comrade said.
Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery, a former SAS commanding
officer, led the tributes to a man he described as a “magnificent” and
Major General Jeffery pinned the Medal for Gallantry on Sgt Locke’s chest in