An Australian soldier, a young man aged 26, was killed Friday during an attack on Taliban bomb-makers in Afghanistan, the country's defense chief said. It was Australia's third combat death in the conflict, all in the past two months.
The death of Pvt. Luke Worsley occured prior to federal elections in Australia. However, the tragic incident is unlikely to influence voters since both major parties have expressed equal support for Australia's role in the conflict.
Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said Worsley was killed while participating in "a planned and deliberate attack by our forces against Taliban leaders and bomb makers" in Afghanistan's southern Uruzgan province.
Houston said a number of Taliban soldiers were killed and a "substantial" number were detained during the operation, which was aimed at a bomb-making squad manufacturing improvised explosive devices.
"If further progress is to be made against the Taliban, these types of operations remain essential," Houston told reporters in Canberra, the nation's capital. "We will continue to go after the bomb-makers."