EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Second Soldier Killed In Oruzgan

  • October 26th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

sergeant-locke-reduced.jpgThe loss of the second Australian soldier to be killed in action in Afghanistan — Sergeant Matthew Locke from the SAS — coincided with a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in the Netherlands; amid renewed debate over strength of the allied commitment.

Sergeant Locke was leading an offensive patrol against Taliban insurgents in Oruzgan province, in Southern Afghanistan, when he was shot in the chest.

He received treatment but died a short time later, while the patrol continued.

Matthew Locke had received the Australian Gallantry Medal last December following his service in the country on an earlier tour of duty.

His home was with his wife and one child at the Perth base of the Special Air Service regiment.

Early this month Trooper David Pearce, from Brisbane, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded, in the same area, in Afghanistan.

The Australian Government, through the Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Defence Minister Brendan Nelson, reiterated calls (26.10.07) for some of the European allies within NATO to make a bigger military contribution in Afghanistan.

A high level meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was commencing at the time of the Australians’ military action, and a statement indicated concern about providing adequate local forces to back up gains made in such operations by the allies:

“NATO Defence Ministers began their meeting in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, (24.10.07) with two discussions on operations, primarily NATO’s top operational priority: Afghanistan.

“Ministers agreed that more effort should be put into training and equipping the Afghan security forces, and several indicated that they would step up their contributions…”

The meeting came at a time when the Dutch government was under renewed political pressure to pull its troops out of Afghanistan.

While allied operations are under NATO command, the Afghanistan commitment is not popular in Europe and some of the governments taking part, notably Germany, Italy and Spain have put limits on how their soldiers can be used in the conflict.


EUAustralia Online: “Soldier Lost In Afghanistan” (9.10.07); “Afghanistan Shooting” (11.8.07); “Afghan Update”, 30.7.07; NATO War Council on Afghanistan, 15.5.07; “NATO Hails Afghanistan Commitment” (11.4.07).

Australian Government, Department of Defence, “Tributes flow for SAS soldier killed in Afghanistan”; “Vale Sergeant Matthew Locke”, 26.10.07. (26.10.07)

“Special Air Service soldier killed in Afghanistan”, Media Release, Canberra, 25/10/2007CPA 397/07, 25.10.07

ABC Online, “Dead SAS man decorated for gallantry, 26.10.07., (26.10.07)

NATO, “Defence Ministers discuss NATO’s operation in Afghanistan, 24.10.07”., (26.10.07)

Picture: Sergeant Locke, Defence Dept.