The bodies of two Ottawa-area accountants killed in the Taliban attack in Kabul, Afghanistan are scheduled to return to Canada on Wednesday, according to the company they were working for.
Martin Glazer, 43, and Peter McSheffrey, 49, were killed on Friday when a suicide bomber and two gunmen attacked La Taverna du Liban restaurant in Kabul.
Samson & Associates confirmed to CBC News that a plane from the Department of National Defence is scheduled to arrive late Wednesday night at CFB Trenton in Ontario with the bodies of Glazer and McSheffrey.
In all, 21 people were killed in the restaurant attack, officials said Saturday, in the deadliest violence against foreign civilians in Afghanistan since the start of the war nearly 13 years ago.
Both men worked as auditors for the financial services company and were in Afghanistan to assess projects delivered by non-governmental organizations.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development financially backed the projects, according to a spokeswoman.
Peter McSheffrey on 1st trip to Kabul
Glazer, from Gatineau, Que., managed all international files and spent nine years with the firm, according to the company’s president, Pierre Samson. Glazer was making his third trip to Kabul for the company.
'You feel anger, you feel pity, you feel like you want to crawl into a corner.' - Pierre Samson, president of Samson & Associates
McSheffrey, from Ottawa, was making his first trip to Afghanistan as an employee at Samson & Associates, where he had worked for less than a year. He also had two teenage daughters.
“It’s something that never happens. It’s hard to describe. You feel anger, you feel pity, you feel like you want to crawl into a corner,” said Samson.
“At the same time, we feel compassion for the family and that’s what’s been keeping us going.”
Samson said he had worked hard to bring back the two men’s bodies. He said it would cost the company $50,000 per person to bring them back, but insurance only covers $15,000 per person.
Families 'in the unknown' trying to cope
Samson said the families were eager for the two men's bodies to be returned to Canada.
“They’re in the unknown right now … how do they cope with it, what do they do next? They’re relying on us,” Samson said about the Glazer and McSheffrey families. “We’re trying to figure out how to help them the best.”
Both families released statements on Saturday.
McSheffrey’s brother Robert said he was born in Montreal, but raised in Ottawa and liked to travel. He was also on the volunteer board of directors with SOS Children’s Villages Canada.
“Peter was a beloved husband, father, brother and son. His family and friends are all grieving this tragic and shocking loss,” Robert said in a written statement.
"What makes this particularly difficult for the family is that Peter was a victim of senseless violence against innocent people.”
Martin Glazer showed 'bravery' with trips to Kabul
Martin Glazer was an avid mountain biker and cross-country skier who was committed to his job. A family statement said “bravery is demonstrated by his frequent business trips to [Afghanistan]."
"He took pride in the work that he did, contributing to Canada's efforts to bring about peace and security in Afghanistan by helping to ensure that development assistance money went to those it was intended to assist," the statement read.
Funeral arrangements have not been released for either man, who had been travelling together for about six weeks. They had been in Afghanistan for less than a week and were due back in Canada next week.
The two men also had friends within the company. Samson said he doesn’t know how they will cope and move forward, but he’s planned a meeting for the approximately 80 employees on Monday morning to discuss how the deaths will affect the company.
Samson did say the men were trained for working in a war zone, which is mandatory through the government, and that this is the sixth time the company has sent auditors to Afghanistan.