Pte. Blake Williamson ((DND))

TwoCanadian soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan on Saturday after militants ambushed them with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire.

Two soldiers were also wounded in the battle in Kandahar province, Canadian military officials said. Those soldiers are instable conditionand theirinjuries are not considered life-threatening.

Thesoldiers who died were identified asSgt.Darcy Tedford and Pte.Blake Williamson,both with the 1st battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment based at CFB Petawawa in eastern Ontario. Their ages andhometownswere not released.

Militants attacked as the soldiers were working on a road designed tooffer safer passage from the volatile Panjwaii district to Kandahar. The road, Highway 1, is often referred to by Canadian soldiers as "Ambush Alley."

"The operational report we're getting is that it was a single rocket-propelled grenade that hit one of our strongpoints," said Col. Fred Lewis, the deputy commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan.


Sgt. Darcy Tedford ((DND))

"It is with courage and heroism that Sgt. Darcy Tedford and Pte. Blake Williamson have sacrificed their life to bring stability, democracy and peace in Afghanistan," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement.

"The government stands proudly with our men and women of the Canadian Forces, as they devotedly continue this mission to help Afghans establish a better life for themselves, while also protecting us from the threat of global terrorism."

'Whatever they destroy, we will rebuild'

The deaths of the soldiers brings the number of Canadian militaryfatalities in Afghanistan to 42.

The attack occurred in the same area where several Canadian soldiers have been killed in recent weeks.Taliban militants have been stepping up attacks in the country's south, particularly in Kandahar and Helmand provinces.

"The Taliban don't like roads because roads mean progress," said Brig.-Gen. David Fraser, the Canadian and NATO commander in southern Afghanistan, during a news conference at Kandahar airbase Saturdayafter the attack.

"That progress will be challenged every day by that organization called the Taliban, who wants to take it down. Whatever they destroy, we will rebuild."

Canada has more than 2,000 troops in the Kandahar area who are working with NATO to fight Taliban forces.

The latest deaths came on the same day as more than 300mourners gathered in Newfoundlandata funeral for Sgt. Craig Gillam.

GillamandanotherCanadian soldier, Cpl. Robert Mitchell, werekilled onOct. 3 in a similar attackjust west of Kandahar City.

One killed, eight injured

On Friday, in Kandahar city, a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-packed van into a NATO military patrol on a busy commercial street filled with storeowners and shoppers. One NATO soldier and eight Afghan civilians were killed by the shrapnel.

A NATO official said theconvoy was made up primarily of U.S. soldiers, but did not divulge the nationality of the dead soldier.

The blast also wounded another NATO soldier and eight civilians. A dozen shops were wrecked.

NATO claims its clashes with insurgents have decreased somewhat in recent weeks.

But militants are increasingly resorting to roadside and suicide attacks to weaken the government and hit Afghan and foreign troops.