Thu Feb 3, 2011 2:57AM
The Australian Defense Department has confirmed that one of its soldiers lost his lives and another sustained injuries during a roadside explosion in Afghanistan.
Corporal Richard Edward Atkinson, 22, was killed on Wednesday in Uruzgan's Deh Rahwod district in southern Afghanistan while was on a foot patrol with Afghan soldiers.
"It's with deep and sincere regret that I must inform you that an Australian soldier... has been killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan," Lieutenant General David Hurley, the acting chief of the defense force, said on Thursday.
"A second soldier was seriously wounded in the incident," AFP quoted Hurley as saying.
The latest death brings the number of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan country to 22 since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001, and takes to 35 the number of fatalities among the US-led foreign troops in Afghanistan so far this year.
The number of mortalities among the foreign soldiers in the violence-wracked country stood at 711 in 2010.
Last year was the deadliest on record for Australian troops in Afghanistan, accounting almost half of the country's total deaths since 2001. Some 1,550 Australian soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan.
Roadside bombs, or IEDs, are by far the most lethal weapon Taliban militants use against foreign troops, Afghan forces as well as civilians.