Aussie killed by IED in Afghanistan
The Taliban’s weapon of choice – the improvised explosive device – has claimed another Australian life in Afghanistan.
The soldier, from the Townsville based 2nd battalion was on a night foot patrol with Afghan Army soldiers 85 kilometres north east of Tarin Kowt, when the device exploded at 8am (AEST).
His colleagues in Australia’s third Mentoring Task Force treated the soldier before he was evacuated by air to Tarin Kowt.
He died soon after.
Defence Force Chief General David Hurley has withheld personal details at his family’s request, but says the soldier has previously served in East Timor and had deployed for the first time to Afghanistan in June.
The soldier was a "respected member" of the Townsville-based 2nd Battalion.
"The soldier's colleagues describe him as a man who excelled at any task he was assigned and a soldier who was proud to serve his country," General Hurley said.
Eight Australian soldiers have died this year.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith says the death is "a terrible blow for an Australian family."
General Hurley reassured the family that they "will not face these difficult days alone."
In an early evening press conference at Defence headquarters, Mr. Smith told reporters "we are on track to achieve our mission in Afghanistan … transition to Afghan led security responsibility by 2014."
Another soldier, from an unnamed Coalition country, was wounded in the blast.
He is in a serious but stable condition and receiving treatment in Tarin Kowt.
An investigation into the incident is under way.