Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bless Them All

Two more soldiers die in Afghanistan
Three convoys attacked

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Two Canadian soldiers died in Afghanistan yesterday and three others were injured in a day that saw three separate attacks on convoys of Canadian armoured vehicles.
The deaths, which come less than a day after a ramp ceremony for six other fallen soldiers, bring the number of Canadians killed on the battlefield since Sunday to eight -- the most ever in a week since Canada's mission in Afghanistan began in 2002.
It pushes the total number of Canadian soldiers who have been killed here to 53.
"As you can appreciate, our thoughts, again, are with the families of the soldiers we have lost," Colonel Mike Cessford, deputy commander of Task Force Afghanistan, said from the NATO base in Kandahar late last night. "It is hard to put into words what they must be feeling at this time of sorrow."
The two Canadians who died yesterday did so after their vehicle hit an explosive device that was planted underneath a road in an area about 38 kilometres west of Kandahar City.
Unconfirmed reports named the slain soldiers as Master Corporal Allan Stewart, 30, and Trooper Patrick James Pentland, 23. Both men were stationed at CFB Petawawa.
Blackhawk helicopters brought the two bodies back to Kandahar Airfield along with two of the wounded soon after the blast.
One of those injured soldiers was carried into the base hospital on a stretcher, while the other -- still dazed by the blast -- staggered into the hospital with the help of two military medics.
Of those two wounded soldiers, one sustained minor injuries while a second was seriously hurt and will soon be taken to the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.
Col. Cessford said the fatal blast took place around 8 p.m. and that it happened about 800 metres from an earlier, similar attack against another convoy of Canadian soldiers.
That earlier incident, which Col. Cessford called "unrelated" to the second, took place at about 6 p.m., he said, noting a Canadian armoured vehicle hit another bomb planted in the road at that time. The shrapnel from that explosion left one soldier in a trailing vehicle with minor injuries.
The two blasts follow yet another attack on Canadian soldiers yesterday, one that happened at about 1:30 p.m.
In that third attack, a suicide bomber driving a taxi set off a large explosion next to a convoy of Canadian vehicles.
The blast blew out the front window of a nearby water truck and sent pieces of the taxi flying close to nine metres, witnesses said.
No soldiers were injured in that attack, which happened in a western district of Kandahar City, though Kandahar's health director said 10 Afghan civilians were injured.
Military spokesman Lieutenant John Nethercott said yesterday afternoon the explosion caused minor damage to a Canadian LAV III, but added all the vehicles in the convoy were able to keep driving and to leave the scene.
Taj Muhammed, a 25-year-old day labourer who was injured, witnessed the explosion.
He said he was on his way to Helmand province to harvest poppies when the explosion went off. He explained that he had pulled his car to the side of the road at the time because a Canadian convoy was about to pass.
"Suddenly I heard an explosion," he said from his hospital bed, where he was being treated for burns.
"After the explosion fire spread all around us," he added. "I lost consciousness and when I opened my eyes I found myself at the Mirwais Hospital."
Yesterday's string of attacks took place less than three days after yet another IED strike where six Canadian soldiers died in a blast about 75 kilometers west of Kandahar City. Corporal Brent Poland, Sergeant Donald Lucas, Corporal Aaron E. Williams, Private Kevin Vincent Kennedy, Private David Robert Greenslade and Corporal Christopher Paul Stannix all died in that blast, and were given a final farewell at a ramp ceremony on the Kandahar Airfield on Tuesday night.


Sean said...

Military Mom,

I was wondering if you had any "inside knowledge" as to why CBC Newsworld did not show the repatriation of OUR soldiers (April 15th)? I know that the DND said that media was allowed. I have sent CBC a complaint. I believe that if the family is alright with it, media should be there to allow Canadians to grieve along with the families. IN my opinion, there is not much more important than our soldiers!!

Military Mom said...

Sean... I understand that we like to be there for the families at such tragic times, however CBC did not cover the repatriation as the media was not allowed into Trenton. The families'wishes were honoured. This is from a posting I received:

News media will not be allowed into CFB Trenton to cover this week's repatriation of six Canadian soldiers killed Sunday in Afghanistan, The Belleville Intelligencer has learned.

"Some of the family members of the fallen soldiers have requested that no media be allowed on the tarmac and we are accommodating that request," Second Lt. Jennifer Jones of the base's public affairs office said yesterday

Military Mom said...

... an adendment to the previous comment, information received from DND (Department of National Defence):
"At the wishes of the families, media are not invited to view
the arrival from the tarmac, and no interviews will be given."

The media needs to honour the wishes of the families. In mine,as yours Sean and others - our hearts are with them.