19 Jul 2009

Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan

12:57 pm on 19 July 2009

An Australian soldier has been killed in an explosion in Afghanistan.

His death takes the number of Australian soldiers killed there to 11.

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said in Canberra on Sunday the incident happened during an operation in the Baluchi Valley while soldiers were carrying out a cordon and search operation on foot on Saturday morning (local time).

The soldier, 22, was on his first deployment to Afghanistan. He had been in the army for just over three years and previously served in East Timor.

A second Australian was seriously wounded in the explosion, along with three Afghan civilians.

The wounded soldier has undergone surgery and is now in a stable condition. He will be relocated to Kandahar later on Sunday (Australian time), before being moved to Germany.

The three wounded civilians are also expected to recover from their wounds.

Defence Minister John Faulkner said improvised explosive devices were designed by the Taliban to kill and maim indiscriminately.