Ex-soldiers face manslaughter charges | News.com.au TWO Australian ex-commandos are set to plead not guilty to charges over a raid that left five children dead. The Director of Military Prosecutions earlier today announced three commandos would be charged with a range of offences including manslaughter. Soldiers A and B, who remain anonymous, have issued a lengthy statement in response, promising to fight the charges. "We will strenuously defend the charges and we look forward to the opportunity of publicly clearing our reputations, as well as the reputation of the Australian Defence Force," the pair said through the law firm Kennedys. Australian forces have now been in Afghanistan for nine years. Soldiers A and B attacked the media for "many cases" of inaccurate reporting of the clearance operations. "Words will never adequately express our regret that women and children were killed and injured during the incident on 12 February 2009," they said. Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar. Related CoverageAfghanistan: Prisoners blindfolded End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar. "These were people we were risking our lives to protect." The soldiers blamed the deaths on the enemy. "It should not be forgotten that the casualties were ultimately caused by the callous and reckless act of an insurgent who chose to repeatedly fire upon us at extreme close range from within a room he knew contained women and children," the pair said. Their story was backed by a defence statement issued at the time which told of close fire from Taliban insurgents as the commandos cleared buildings. Director Lyn McDade said her investigations - only recently completed - had been "careful, deliberate and informed". "The accused persons will be charged with various service offences, including manslaughter, dangerous conduct, failing to comply with a lawful general order and prejudicial conduct," Brigadier McDade said in a statement. Soldiers A and B said when the full facts of the battle became public, their decision would be vindicated. "It will be clear to everyone that we made the correct decision under truly awful circumstances." One suspected insurgent and five children were killed, while another two children and two adults were wounded in the incident. Three former members of the Special Operations Task Group will be charged with service offences, Brigadier McDade said. The soldiers facing charges were not named in the statement.