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Australian Soldier Killed in Aghanistan

An Australian soldier has been killed and two others injured by the explosion of an improvised explosive device during an offensive operation against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The Defence Department says the soldier's family has been notified, but has asked that his name not be released yet.

He was a member of the Sydney-based 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (Commando).

The Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General David Hurley, says the personnel involved are from the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) and they were patrolling on foot in the Oruzgan province when the incident happened earlier today.

"Today our nation mourns the loss of a fine soldier. On behalf of the men and women of the Australian Defence Force I offer my deepest sympathy to his family and to his friends," he said.

"My highest priority right now is to ensure that the soldier's family receive the care and support they need."

Lieutenant General Hurley says the other soldiers were only slightly wounded and were provided with medical assistance before returning to operational duties.

He says their families have been informed.

Lieutenant General Hurley says Taliban insurgents continued to prefer the indiscriminate use of IEDs over close-battle with Australian and ISAF elements.

"The soldier was intimately involved in ongoing Australian Special Forces operations to neutralise and fracture the Taliban insurgency's leadership in Oruzgan province," he said.

"His death is a tragic reminder that Afghanistan remains a dangerous place and that our service personnel place themselves in great danger to assist the Afghan population each day.

"His death will be keenly felt within the SOTG, across Army and throughout the wider ADF."

Seven Australian soldiers have now been killed in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he was deeply saddened to hear of the soldier's death.

"On behalf of the Government I wish to extend my condolences to the family of this soldier," he said.

"I ask all Australian's to remember the families of these soldiers and hold them in their thoughts and prayers at this dangerous time."

The Special Operations Task Group consists of up to 330 personnel, and operates in support of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) security operations and provides security and force protection for the Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force in Oruzgan Province.

The SOTG consists of Commandos, members of the Special Air Service Regiment and enabling and support personnel.

"www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/11/27/2431797.htm"
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Added:

By: bravo61 (12241.46)

Tags: Afghanistan, ADF, 4 RAR, Oruzgan, ISAF, SOTG, IED

Location: New York, United States

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