A soldier from Quebec was killed and another Canadian soldier was injured Tuesday in a roadside bomb explosion in southern Afghanistan, the military said.
The explosion happened at about 7:15 a.m. local time during a routine patrol in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province, about 10 kilometres north of the city of Kandahar, Brig.-Gen. Guy Laroche said at Kandahar airfield.
Trooper Richard Renaud, 26, from Alma, north of Quebec City, was killed in the explosion, Laroche said. He was a member of the Valcartier-based 12e Régiment blindé du Canada, informally translated as the 12th Canadian Armoured Regiment. (The unit has no formal English name.)
He left behind a pregnant wife and their first child, and a four-year-old stepson. Renaud also has two living parents and a sister.
"Richard left us doing something he loved. We will miss him dearly," his family said in a statement.
"He always talked about his mission abroad with passion. For him it was a way to make a difference in our world."
Soon after news of Renaud's death emerged, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to the soldier's family and friends.
"Trooper Renaud made the ultimate sacrifice while working to bring security, democracy and self-reliance to the people of Afghanistan, all the while protecting Canada's values and security," Harper said in a written statement.
"As we mourn the loss of Trooper Renaud, we think of his courage, commitment and bravery. He was part of coalition efforts that are creating the conditions for reconstruction and development to progress in a country ravaged by decades of conflict.
The soldiers were riding in a Coyote armoured reconnaissance vehicle when it hit the improvised explosive device (IED), Laroche said.
The second soldier is doing well and has contacted his family, Laroche added. Two other soldiers in the vehicle were not injured.
This was the third roadside bomb attack against Canadian soldiers in as many days, although the previous two attacks resulted only in minor injuries.
Laroche dismissed speculation that the Taliban are gaining confidence in their operations, saying the recent attacks were simply a continuation of hostilities the southern provinces throughout the summer months.
Despite the latest death and apparent increase in IED attacks, Laroche said the resolve among Canadians soldiers in the mission is stronger than ever.
"Whether you lose one or ten, it's always difficult," he said. "I would like to convey my most sincere sympathies to the families of our lost comrade."
Most of Canada's 2,500 troops participating in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan are in and around Kandahar province.
The death brings the total number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the mission began in 2002 to 77. One Canadian diplomat has also died on the mission.