Australian soldier killed in Middle East

An elite Australian soldier was killed in a traffic accident while on a training exercise in the Middle East, the defense department said Monday.

The department did not identify the soldier or where in the Middle East he was killed. The chief of the Defense Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said the soldier had been struck by a vehicle.

Australia sent a contingent of 190 commandos and elite Special Air Service Regiment soldiers to Afghanistan ahead of elections on Sept. 18 to help stem rising Taliban and al-Qaida-led violence. They are to serve in Afghanistan under U.S. command for a year, AP reports.

A. A.

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