8 Jun 2010

Two Australians killed on deadly Afghanistan day

8:05 pm on 8 June 2010

Two Australian soldiers are among 10 Nato troops killed in a series of deadly attacks by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan over 24 hours.

The two men, both from Queensland, and both on their first tour of duty in Afghanistan, are the first Australians to die there in 11 months.

They were hit by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in the Mirabad Valley in the southern province of Oruzgan on Monday morning (Afghan time).

Acting Defence Force chief, Lieutenant-General David Hurley, says one of the men was killed instantly and the other died in hospital from his wounds.

The soldiers, who were both on their first tours in Afghanistan, were from the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment based at Brisbane's Gallipoli Barracks and were working with the Mentoring Task Force.

The ABC reports an explosives detection dog also died but there were no other casualties among Australian or Afghan troops at the scene.

PM commends bravery

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the deaths highlight the dangers of fighting the Taliban.

Mr Rudd commended the two soldiers for their bravery and offered his condolences to their families.

Across the Tasman, the Government has offered New Zealand's condolences.

It's the first time since the Vietnam War that two Australian soldiers have been killed on the same day.

In all, 13 Australian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2002, the ABC reports.

Mr Rudd says the incident will not prompt his Government to alter the country's troop commitment.

He says it is satisfied with the number of Australian troops in the region.

Mr Rudd also says the campaign in Afghanistan is difficult but there are some signs of success.

Civilians killed in suicide raid

In the worst of several attacks, five American soldiers died in an improvised bomb blast in eastern Afghanistan.

Two foreign civilians working for an American security company contracted to help train Afghan police were killed in a suicide raid on a training camp.

The deaths come, the BBC reports, as the last of 35,000 extra troops ordered by US President Barack Obama arrives in the country.

They are preparing for a major operation in the southern province of Kandahar - the heart of the Taliban insurgency - later this summer.