The Australian Defence Force has confirmed that early this morning (21 June 2010) an incident involving a coalition helicopter has resulted in the death of three Australian soldiers.
Seven Australian soldiers were also wounded.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said the three soldiers killed were Commandos from the Special Operations Task Group.
“The families of these soldiers can be extremely proud of their loved ones. These three individuals were members of a very impressive group of soldiers who were highly skilled and highly motivated,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“These three soldiers were very experienced. Time after time they have taken the fight to the enemy with courage and determination I have nothing but admiration for these very brave and committed Australians. They were some of our finest.”
Air Chief Marshal Houston said the cause of the helicopter crash would be investigated, however, it appeared not to be the result of enemy action.
All the wounded personnel have been evacuated from the incident site and are currently being treated at the Kandahar Role III Medical Facility.
Three Australian soldiers who suffered the most serious wounds will be moved later today to the US military hospital in Bagram when their condition stabilises.
As the operation remains ongoing, further details cannot be provided.
Air Chief Marshal Houston extended his sympathies to the families of the three soldiers on behalf of the ADF.
“We in the ADF are doing everything we can to support them at this time, but obviously they are very shocked and very distressed. I therefore ask you to respect their privacy as they grieve,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
16 Australian Defence Force personnel have been killed since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.
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