Rome: An explosive device on Saturday killed an
Italian soldier and wounded another as their vehicle was
passing in western Afghanistan, the defence ministry and
military command said.
The dead soldier, named as corporal Gaetano Tuccillo,
was driving the armoured vehicle in Farah province, a few
kilometres from the town of Bakwa on the way back from a
reconnaissance mission with the Afghan army.
His companion was wounded in the leg and evacuated by
helicopter to a US military hospital, but his life was not in
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi paid tribute to the
dead soldier, saying he had been "engaged in a mission for the
freedom and democracy of a people."
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini vowed that Rome would
"finish the job" of ensuring security so that Afghanistan
could move to democracy.
Defence Minister Iganzio La Russa warned that with
some countries about to withdraw part of their troops, "the
dangers are not lessening, they could even increase.
"But the general situation allows us to be optimistic
over the timetable we have fixed for handing over military as
well as political responsibilities to the Afghans."
The Italian contingent in the international forces in
Afghanistan, 3,800 strong, is in charge in the western region,
including the city of Herat.