Pte Simon Longtin was killed on 19 August, 2007 after the vehicle he was traveling in, a LAV III, struck an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The incident occurred roughly 1:41 am Kandahar time, approximately 20 km West of Kandahar City. The soldier was immediately evacuated from the scene by helicopter for urgent medical attention, but later succumbed to his injuries. At the time of the incident, the Canadian convoy was returning from a Forward Operating Base following a re-supply mission from Kandahar Airfield. Pte Longtin was a member of 3e Bataillon du Royal 22e Régiment, based out of Valcartier, Québec.
"There is no way to comfort those who are grieving today, except to say this soldier was an exceptional Canadian who deserved the gratitude and respect of his nation," said Col. Christian Juneau, Canada's deputy commander in Afghanistan.
Canadian Forces exchanged fire with Taliban insurgents after the blast -- 20 kilometres west of Kandahar City -- but no other Canadian soldiers were injured and no Taliban casualties could be confirmed.
The soldier was evacuated by helicopter to a hospital at Kandahar Airfield, but pronounced dead upon arrival.
Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment, known in English Canada as the Van Doos, took command of Canadian military operations here on Aug. 1.
Political observers will watch to see how the news reverberates in Quebec, where support for the war is the lowest of any province.
Col. Juneau said the death will hit the Van Doos hard.
"It's like losing almost a brother. We're like a big family here," he said. "We will mourn, we will pay our respects to the family and our fallen comrade, and we will carry on with the mission."
Prayers and love go to the friends and family here and overseas of Private Simon Longtin.
It is the second time in a week that Canadian soldiers have been wounded or killed along Foster Road, a well-travelled supply route to forward operating base Masum Ghar.
Five soldiers were lightly injured last Sunday by an IED along the same road. After that attack, the military dispatched engineers to survey the route for IEDs.
The engineers checked for bombs in drainage culverts where insurgents are believed to have planted the bomb used in last Sunday's attack.
At one point, engineers discovered a Chinese-made mortar in one of the culverts. They detonated the bomb safely, setting off a thud that echoed through the nearby mountains.
Col. Juneau said Canadian troops will step up surveillance of the route. "However, with the size of our operation, it's quite difficult to have eyes everywhere. ... You travel on the road, (and) the next night they can insert themselves and install an IED."
Two soldiers incurred minor injuries Friday after their armoured vehicle rolled over an IED while traveling in a supply convoy about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City.
The Muslim holy period Ramadan begins in a few weeks. On Saturday, the Taliban released a statement from their reclusive leader, Mullah Omar. It called on Afghans to wage a jihad against foreign "invaders."
There are roughly 2,500 Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led coalition that is attempting to secure and rebuild the country.
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