Australian soldiers hold off 50 taliban

September 27th, 2007  

Topic: Australian soldiers hold off 50 taliban

Australian soldiers in Afghanistan have been involved in their heaviest fighting yet, holding off a four-hour attack from about 50 Taliban extremists, defence said.

The firefight happened about 8km north of Tarin Kowt in the Oruzgan province some time in the past week.
From the cover of an orchard, the Taliban fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons at Australian soldiers helping to construct an Afghan police outpost.
Defence said the Taliban suffered heavy casualties in the attack but would not release details.
No Australian soldiers were wounded, nor were there any civilian casualties, and there was no damage to Australian vehicles, officials said.
Intense fighting went on for about four hours, with the Australians helped by Dutch F16 fighter aircraft and Apache helicopters.
"We were engaged with some very accurate fire from a range of about 300m and there were a lot of bullets coming our way," Lieutenant Glenn Neilson said in a statement.
"Making use of all the weapons we had at our disposal, including the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle and Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle, we held our ground."
Local Afghan troops, who had been trained by the Australians, helped fight off the Taliban soldiers, who established strong firing positions and were reinforced with more men as the attack progressed, defence said.
The Taliban attack was the latest in a series of recent assaults in both Oruzgan Province and the neighbouring Helmand Province, in which defence said the insurgents had been defeated each time.
Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Harry Jarvic said the soldiers' success was due to their skill and determination.
"Over the last few months Australians have been regularly tested by Taliban extremists. In every case they have performed magnificently," he said.
Footage of the firefight has been released on the defence force website.

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