Australian Soldier Killed by Taliban in Afghanistan Firefight

An Australian soldier was killed in a firefight with Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan yesterday, the military said.

The soldier was on patrol near Kakarak in Uruzgan province when troops were attacked by about 20 militants using guns and rocket-propelled grenades, Angus Houston, Australia’s defense force chief, said in an e-mailed statement.

The soldier received first aid treatment and was evacuated by helicopter, though was confirmed dead at Tarin Kowt hospital. No other Australians were wounded, Houston said.

The death was Australia’s ninth in combat operations in Afghanistan. Some 40 Australian soldiers have been wounded since the conflict began in 2001.

Australia is a partner of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and has 1,000 personnel in Uruzgan province and around Kandahar Airport in the south.