Australians claim role in death of senior Taliban leader

Australian troops operating in Afghanistan have played a key role in an operation in Oruzgan province which led to the death of a senior Taliban extremist.

Our reporter in Canberra, Michael Cavanagh, says the defence department has confirmed Mullah Akhter Mohammed died last week when an airstrike targetted the party protecting the Taliban official.

Australian troops operating in the region spotted the Taliban extremist and his troops — and then kept him under observation.

An Australian army spokesperson Brigadier Brian Dawson says an added difficulty for the patrol was that they were operating in broad daylight making their concealment difficult.

After positively identifying the man said to be responsible for controlling a large force of insurgents and initmidation of local communities, the Australian Special Operations Task group ensured there were no civilians in the region.

The airstrike was then was carried out — its not known how many Taliban died in the subsequent attack.