Tuesday, March 27, 2007
SPERWIN GHAR, Afghanistan (CP) - Two Canadian soldiers were injured when their LAV-3 armoured vehicle was damaged by a suicide car bomber minutes after fighting through a Taliban ambush.
The convoy of three LAV-3s was fired on by rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire Monday night a few kilometres east of Patrol Base Wilson in Zhari district, military officials said Tuesday.
The convoy was then hit by a suicide car bomber on the outskirts of Kandahar city in an area known as ambush alley.
Capt. Matt Allen, the commander of the convoy, had nothing but praise for the way his soldiers, members of the Royal Canadian Regiment battle group, responded to the Taliban attacks.
"They were brilliant, their performance was outstanding," Allen told The Canadian Press as his tired troops unloaded a LAV-3 that suffered four destroyed tires.
"It seemed like an hour but it was under a minute. And then things were sorted out and we kept going."
One soldier suffered a badly broken arm and was to be transported to Germany for treatment.
The other soldier suffered minor injuries. They were not identified.
After the suicide car bomb exploded the convoy continued to limp along until it linked up with troops of Charlie company, 3 Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
Soldiers from India company of the 2 RCR swept the ambush site but didn't find any of the insurgents.
During the ambush soldiers in the convoy returned fire with machine guns. There were no reports of Taliban casualties.
Units from the Gagetown, N.B.-based battle group have been reporting a spike in roadside bombs and random rocket attacks this week in the Zhari, Panjwaii and Maywand districts.
Most of the attacks have occurred between the main highway and the Arghandab river, an area of poppy farms and vineyards that is starting to green up under the hot spring sun.
Afghan security troops have been warning the Canadians to expect more Taliban activity because of the increased foliage, which provides cover for the insurgents.
Military officials have said they don't expect the Taliban to engage them in stand-up fights this year after hundreds of insurgents will killed in battles last summer in the Panjwaii.
Allen said his soldiers, members of 6 platoon, Hotel company, bounced back quickly from the ordeal.
He cited the performance of the two injured soldiers, who didn't report they were hurt until after the attack.
"They continued to perform their jobs like there was nothing wrong with them," said Allen, who is from Lindsay, Ont.
"When the opportunity presented itself to stop and assess it, that's when they reported their injuries. It was amazing."
Allen said his platoon has been together for two years and is a tight group.
He said the plan is to fix the damage and move on.
"Change the tires, good to go," he said.