9th Australian soldier dies in Afghanistan

March 17, 2009 07:07

The death of a ninth Australian soldier in Afghanistan will not diminish Canberra's commitment to bringing stability to the Central Asian country, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Tuesday. The soldier in a joint Australian-Afghan army patrol was shot dead during a "very intense fire fight" with 20 Taliban insurgents in Uruzgan province Monday morning, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said Tuesday. The soldier's name has not been released. Rudd told Parliament the "government remains committed to confronting the ongoing threat from international terrorism and bringing greater stability to Afghanistan." Australia has about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan - the largest contribution outside NATO. But some NATO countries want Australia to do more in the faltering fight against Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents.

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