Diggers in ' fiercest fighting '
( News.Com.Au ) AUSTRALIAN soldiers in Afghanistan have been involved in their heaviest fighting yet, holding off a four-hour attack from about 50 Taliban extremists, the Defence Department has said.
The firefight happened about 8km north of Tarin Kowt in the Oruzgan province some time in the past week.
Dutch fighter planes and Apache helicopters were called in to assist the Australian forces.
From the cover of an orchard, the Taliban fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons at Australian soldiers helping to construct an Afghan police outpost.
The Taliban fighters suffered heavy casualties, the Defence department has said without elaborating.
"We were engaged with some very accurate fire from a range of about 300m and there were a lot of bullets coming our way," Infantry Platoon Commander Lieutenant Glenn Neilson said.
"Making use of all the weapons at our disposal, including the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) and Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle (IMV), we held our ground."
Defence has said Taliban reinforcements arrived to bolster the attack as it dragged on.
A separate platoon of Australian soldiers provided covering fire for the troops under attack as they moved across open ground.
There were no Australian casualties or damage to Australian vehicles, the department said.