Sydney (ANTARA News/AFP) - Two Australian soldiers have been killed in separate incidents in Afghanistan, the Defence Department said Tuesday, with one of them being shot dead by a local trooper.

The incidents on Monday brought the number of Australians killed in the conflict to 26 and coincided with the arrival home of the body of Sergeant Brett Wood, who died in a bomb blast in the country a week ago.

One of the soldiers who died, a 25-year-old lance corporal, was shot by an Afghan National Army trooper while they were on guard duty in the Chora Valley.

The other, a lieutenant whose age was not given, died in a Chinook helicopter crash a few hours later.

"It was with immense sorrow that I am here this morning to announce the death of two Australian soldiers in Afghanistan in two separate incidents overnight," Defence force chief Angus Houston said.

A total of 214 international troops have been killed in the country so far this year, according to a tally compiled by the independent website That compares with a total of 711 for last year.

Troop commanders have warned of another tough period ahead after the Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive at the end of last month. (*)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
Copyright © ANTARA 2011