A Canadian soldier was killed late Friday by a roadside bomb explosion in southern Afghanistan during a night patrol in Panjwaii district near Kandahar city, military officials say.


Cpl. James Arnal, 25, had left a career in information technology to join the military. ((DND))

Cpl. James Hayward Arnal, 25, of Winnipeg, was struck while he and other soldiers were on foot patrol in the area.

Another Canadian soldier was injured in the blast but was said to be in good condition and was expected to return to duty.

Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan lauded Arnal as a fearless fighter who had left a lucrative career in information technology to join the army.

"Clearly, he was a dedicated soldier with a very promising career ahead of him," said Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, Canada's commander in Afghanistan.

Arnal was a member of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, stationed  at Canadian Forces Base Shilo in Manitoba. He was the 88th Canadian soldier to die in the Afghan mission and the second killed in combat since the beginning of June.

The young corporal was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan and had expressed interest in returning for a third tour in 2009. Relatives said he was due to return to Canada in September.


James (Jim) Arnal poses for a photo in 2005 when he and a friend hiked the West Coast Trail. ((Sean Best))

"He lived life as fearless as he executed his role in Afghanistan, living life to its fullest," his family said in a statement released in Winnipeg.

"He was a thrill-seeker and was always on the go, recruiting his friends to go with him. He was always planning his next adventure ... he was proud to be part of Canada's efforts to bring peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan," his family said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Arnal will be remembered for his dedication and bravery.

In a statement, Harper called Arnal "an outstanding Canadian," and said his loss will be mourned.

Harper also said while the mission is "challenging," Canada remains resolved to helping the people of Afghanistan.

With files from the Canadian Press