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An Australian special forces soldier has been killed and two of his fellow troops wounded in a gun battle with insurgents in southern Afghanistan.

Australian Defense Ministry officials said on June 23 that the soldier had been killed the previous day on his fifth tour of Afghanistan.

He is the 40th Australian casualty of the campaign and the first since October.

The Australian troops were supporting an operation by the elite Afghan troops of the Uruzgan Provincial Response Company in southern Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP