July 27, 2017

Australian soldier shot dead in Southern Afghanistan

The worst part of General Hurley's job has got to be announcing the death of one of his men.

General David Hurley, the Chief of the Australian Defence Force has announced that an “experienced and decorated” Australian soldier has been killed and another seriously injured in a firefight with Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan.

Sergeant Todd Langley, 35, from the 2nd Commando Regiment in Sydney, died after being shot in the head during an operation with the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) and Afghan soldiers, General Hurley said.

Sergeant Langley’s family were informed of his death overnight, he said.

The second soldier, who has not been named, was also shot and flown to a medical facility in Tarin Kowt, and then a hospital in Kandahar, for treatment.

He was in a serious but stable condition, General Hurley said.

They were both involved in an operation with troops from the Afghan National Army to clear a weapons cache.

General Hurley would not give details on exactly where the incident occurred, saying the operation was ongoing.

General Hurley said Sergeant Langley was an “experienced and decorated soldier” who was on his fifth deployment to Afghanistan. He had also completed two tours of duty in East Timor.

Sergeant Langley, who was awarded two commendations for distinguished service and had a unit citation for gallantry, was an “exemplary warrior and a true leader who always brought out the best of those around him”.

“He was a brave and professional soldier who never took a backward step and, despite their grief, his comrades say he will continue to inspire them,” General Hurley said.

Sergeant Langley’s is the 28th Australian soldier to die on active duty in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a press conference that Sergeant Langley, a commando, was “one of the best of our best in the Australian Defence Force”.

“There is a family in Australia today who is grieving his loss. This is for them a time of tears and a time of pain.”

“We do want [his family] to know that the nation stands with them in this time of incredible loss and grief.”