12-year-old boy allegedly used in Afghan suicide attack

    Stephen Smith, Australia’s defense minister. Photo by: CTBTO / CC BY

    The condition of the Australian aid worker injured in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan “has improved,” but Australia’s defense minister says there will be an “exhaustive assessment” of the attack.

    Stephen Smith condemned the attack and the Taliban’s use of children in suicide missions, calling it “revolting” and “absolutely contemptible.” The attack, according to some media reports, was carried out by a 12-year-old boy.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident, saying it was in retaliation to a U.S. soldier’s alleged massacre of 17 Afghan civilians. The International Security Assistance Force troops who were with Savage during the incident were Americans, The Australian says.

    David Savage, the Australian Agency for International Development adviser injured in the attack, has been involved in numerous development projects across Asia, including in Afghanistan. He previously worked in the country as an adviser on human rights abuse investigations. Savage’s book detailing his experience as a peacekeeper in East Timor was adapted into a TV miniseries by ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

    Savage’s family said in a statement that they find it “difficult” to understand that he was injured while trying to help people in need, the Australian Network News reports.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.