One Canadian soldier died and four were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded Sunday near their armoured vehicle on patrol northeast of Kandahar city, the second deadly attack for troops in Afghanistan in less than a week.
The soldiers were conducting security operations in the mountainous region of Sha Wali Kot district — a known entry point for Taliban fighters — when the explosion occurred at about 1:15 p.m. local time on Sunday, the military said.
Trooper Marc Diab, 22, from the Royal Canadian Dragoons was killed in the attack. He was serving as a member of the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group based in Petawawa, Ont., the military said.
The injured soldiers, whose names are being withheld to conform with military policy, were taken by helicopter to a medical facility at the Kandahar Airfield. All are in stable condition and three of them will be taken to the Landstuhl medical facility in Germany. Their families have been notified, the military said.
"On behalf of all members of Task Force Kandahar, I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Trooper Diab," said Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance, commander of Canadian troops in Kandahar. "We will stand with you in your grief, and we will help you through the difficult days ahead."
In a release, Prime Minister Stephen Harper extended his condolences to Diab's family and friends and hoped for a speedy recovery for the wounded soldiers.
"Trooper Marc Diab paid the ultimate price serving his country," Harper said. "His life and death serves as an example of the bravery and outstanding dedication of Canadian Forces members on this mission."
On March 4, three Canadian soldiers were killed and two wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near their armoured vehicle. They were on their way back to the base when the incident occurred in Arghandab District, about 10 kilometres northwest of Kandahar city,
Soldier was dedicated, religious and loved sports
On Sunday, Vance described Diab as an energetic, enthusiastic and dedicated soldier who loved to joke around and make people laugh. He was extremely close to his mother Jihan and girlfriend Mary, he said.
"He never stopped giving," Vance said. "He brought joy and laughter to his friends and was deeply involved and committed to his church and youth group activities."
He was an avid soccer player who loved sports and outdoor activities and often spoke about how much he enjoyed taking his jeep and going cross-country driving, he said.
"His friends and comrades describe him as having a large heart for such a small guy," Vance said. "He would give you the world if he had it."
Diab's death brings the number of casualties in Afghanistan to 112 since Canada's combat mission there began in 2002. One diplomat and two aid workers have also been killed.
There are 2,830 Canadian troops serving at Kandahar Airfield and Camp Nathan Smith, the home of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar city, the military said.
Both Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Vance said Canada remains committed to the mission, improving security and increasing development in Kandahar province.
"The sacrifices of these soldiers will not be forgotten and this tragic incident will not deter us from helping Afghans to reclaim their country," he said.
"Despite these cowardly attacks, we are determined to continue working with our Afghan and international partners towards a better future for the people of Afghanistan," Vance said.