The 28 Australians who have been killed in the war in Afghanistan represent a small fraction of the massive trauma caused to Australian soldiers by the decade-old war in Afghanistan. While the Defence Department admits 180 Australian soldiers have been injured or wounded, figures leaked from Veterans’ Affairs reveal the real figure to be in excess of 1,100.
Former SAS trooper of 14 years David Cirulis (pictured) says the ‘unseen and undiscussed reality’ of the war is ‘horrific’. Those Australians who have fought in Afghanistan have suffered spinal injuries, ‘amputated limbs, severe burns, bullets still lodged in flesh and major depression.’ The most common conditions receiving financial compensation are ‘gunshot and stab wounds, lacerations and bone fractures caused by explosions, post-traumatic stress disorder and hearing loss.’
Says whistle-blower Cirulis, who himself has multiple injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder:
“I’ve had mates that have lost their legs and have been horribly burned. AK-47 rounds are devastating.
I’ve got a mate who was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade blast. Step on a landmine and you get bone fractures up in your body and into the pelvis. A lot of the shrapnel is fragments of your own bones.”
Each of these 1,100 soldiers has claimed compensation for an average of 3 wounds or injuries.