Four More Canadians Killed in Afghanistan Print
Peace News
Thursday, 03 August 2006 08:38
Four More Canadians Killed in Afghanistan

CBC News
- Four Canadian soldiers were killed and 10 injured in three separate attacks near Kandahar on Thursday, one of the deadliest days for Canada so far in the military campaign in Afghanistan.

4 Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan

CBC News
Last Updated Thu, 03 Aug 2006 17:07:54 EDT

 Cpl. Christopher Jonathan Reid was killed early Thursday in a roadside bombing west of Kandahar, Afghanistan. (Department of National Defence/Canadian Press) Canadian Brig.-Gen. David Fraser said it was a difficult day, but the troops made significant gains on insurgents.   "The Taliban are not going to give up without a fight," Fraser told a news conference.

"We've got to be patient, we've got to be vigiliant and we've got to be determined to see this through for as long as it takes."

Three Canadians were killed and six injured when Taliban militants attacked soldiers with rocket-propelled grenades on the outskirts of Kandahar, a NATO spokesman said.

Their names were not immediately released.

The soldiers, of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Edmonton, were supporting Afghan national police in clearing a suspected Taliban position in the Zharey district. The insurgents attacked at around 12:30 p.m. local time.

Three of the wounded soldiers and an injured interpreter were taken by helicopter to a hospital at Camp Bastion in Helmand province.

The remaining three were taken to the coalition hospital at the Kandahar airfield. All six injured soldiers were reported to be in good condition.

'Inflicted severe casualties' on Taliban

Following the attack, the Canadian Department of National Defence reported that coalition forces had succeeded in weakening the Taliban.

"As a result of this ongoing engagement, Canadian and Afghan national security forces have inflicted severe casualties on the Taliban and disrupted their leadership in the Pashmoe area," officials said.

Earlier in the day, Cpl. Christopher Jonathan Reid of Truro, N.S., was killed near Kandahar when his armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.

Reid, with the 1st Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, was the 20th Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan since Canada began sending soldiers in 2002.

"This is something that we have to deal with," Col. Tom Putt, deputy commander of Task Force Afghanistan, told CBC News. "Despite this, we continue to do our duty."

Reid was in a Canadian Light Armoured Vehicle, or LAV III, when it was hit. Another Canadian soldier was in the vehicle at the time and was injured, but his injuries were not life-threatening.

A short time after the attack, three Canadian soldiers were injured when another LAV III was also hit by a roadside bomb. Their injuries were also non-life threatening, the military said.

Meanwhile, as NATO troops patrolled a crowded market in southern Afghanistan, a suicide bomber in a car approached and blew himself up, killing 21 civilians.

PM pledges support to military work

In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking in Cornwall, Ont., offered his condolences to Reid's family and pledged his support to the military campaign.

"What the men and women in harm's way want and need to know at moments like this is that the government and Canadians stand behind their mission," Harper said.

"Through good times and bad, this government will honour their sacrifice, we will stand behind their mission and we are proud of the work that they are doing."

NATO spokesman James Appathurai said the alliance's resolve to bring the region under control is strong. He said the mission is important for the people of Afghanistan and also international security.

"This is the centre of gravity for Afghanistan," Appathurai said of Afghanistan. "This is where the most opposition is to be found, both Taliban and al-Qaeda, but also drug lords, war lords and ordinary criminals."

Soldiers die as 2 others buried

News of the Canadian soldiers' deaths came the same day interment ceremonies were being held at the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa for two Canadian soldiers killed in a suicide blast near Kandahar last month.

Cpl. Francisco Gomez of Edmonton, 44, and Cpl. Jason Warren, 29, of Montreal died on July 22 when a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle near their eight-wheeled Bison troop carrier.

The new commander of the Armed Forces in Atlantic Canada said the military is being transformed by the reality that it is now regularly involved in live combat.

Rear Admiral Dean McFadden said the days of training soldiers to "be prepared" just in case they needed to confront an enemy are history. He said when people sign up for the military, there is a good chance they will end up in a war zone.

"We are getting young men and women predominantly ready to go to areas of the world where they will be putting themselves at risk, " he said.

"The difference today is that things are going wrong, we are there doing something about it, and that has been the biggest challenge for us, all of the consequences that come from that."

McFadden said that means the possibility of being killed on the job is no longer theoretical, but a reality.

He said that has led to a marked change in training and recruiting, and a new burden of responsibility for military commanders.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 August 2006 08:38