Australia remains committed to fight terrorism in Afghanistan: FM

15:42, June 08, 2010      

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Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on Tuesday said the deaths of two Australian soldiers in Afghanistan were tragic but Australia remains committed to staring down terrorism in the troubled region.

Monday's deaths in a bomb blast were especially tragic for the men's families, friends and loved ones, Smith told reporters in Perth.

He said it had been almost a year since Australia suffered its last casualty in Afghanistan and it was the first case of multiple casualties since the Vietnam War.

Smith said Australian troops were in Afghanistan because that country and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area were one of the " current hotbeds or danger points" for international terrorism.

"We've never put a timetable on our commitment to Afghanistan other than to very strongly make the point that our commitment is to be there together with the rest of the international community to stare down international terrorism," Smith said.

It was a great loss to the nation and Defense Minister John Faulkner sent his sincere condolences to the families of both men.

"The manner of their deaths from an insidious and indiscriminate improvised explosive device again shows the callous and truly despicable nature of our enemy," Faulkner said in a statement.

State Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told state parliament she understood a Queensland soldier had died.

"It's with great sadness this morning that we have learned in breaking news that two Australian diggers, including possibly a Queenslander, have been killed in Afghanistan," Bligh said.

"These two Australians have made the ultimate sacrifice and it' s a very sad day for their families."

In what has been described as the deadliest day for coalition forces this year, Taliban insurgents ramped up bombings and attacks on North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces on Monday.

NATO announced that ten soldiers, seven of them American, had been killed in a string of attacks.

Source: Xinhua


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