A Canadian soldier has died of injuries sustained in a firefight with insurgents in Zhari district of Kandahar province, military officials said Saturday.


Master Cpl. Josh Roberts was based in Shilo, Man., and was promoted to master corporal two weeks ago. ((DND))

The soldier has been identified as Master Cpl. Josh Roberts of the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based out of Shilo, Man.

The Saskatchewan native died as a result of a gunshot wound, officials said.

He was involved in a joint operation aimed at disrupting insurgent activity in a rugged farming area when the incident occurred.

There is speculation that a private security company passing by in a convoy may have accidentally opened fire on Canadian troops.

However, Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, the Canadian commander in Afghanistan, said he was unable to confirm such reports.

"The death of Roberts is being investigated, and until we have conclusive results of the investigation, I can't give you a definitive statement," he told reporters.

Thompson said he didn't have any concerns about the use of security companies in areas where soldiers may have to confront insurgents.

"Without private security firms, it would be impossible to achieve what we're achieving here" he said.

Since 2002, 89 Canadian soldiers have been killed during the Afghanistan mission.

Last month, two Canadian soldiers were killed in explosions in southern Afghanistan and a third died in a non-combat-related incident on a Persian Gulf military base.

With files from the Canadian Press