Australia committed to Afghan war, says Gillard

Canberra, Feb.20 (ANI): Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said that Australia will remain committed to the war in Afghanistan, despite the rising death toll.

Australia's defense chief, Air Marshall Angus Houston, told reporters that Sapper Jamie Ronald Larcombe (21) and his interpreter were killed while on patrol in the Mirabad Valley in Uruzgan province on Saturday night.

Following this incident, the number of Australian diggers killed in the conflict has risen to 23.

"Jamie Larcombe was taking the fight to insurgents," Gillard told reporters in Canberra, adding that the whole nation would mourn his death.

"It's a hard mission and I'm not underestimating the costs. I am immeasurably sad, but I am certainly very determined to see the mission through."

Currently Australia has 1,550 troops in Afghanistan, the largest force provided by any country outside NATO. (ANI)

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