Boy's death at suicide bomb site 'devastating': Hillier

Canada's top soldier said Wednesday the shooting death of a young Afghan boy by a Canadian soldier this week in Kandahar is "devastating."

The shooting death of a 10-year-oldAfghan boy by a Canadian soldierin Kandahar on Tuesdayis "devastating," Canada's top soldier said Wednesday.

"It's always devastating when you lose anybody, particularly a child," Gen. Rick Hillier said in St. John's, N.L., when asked about the boy's death.

"Unfortunately, in this mission, which was complex and dangerous, the conditions that caused that death to occur are set by the Taliban, who refuse to accept the fact that a stable Afghanistan is better for all people there. "

The boywas a passenger on a motorcycle that crossed the security perimeter of the site of a suicide bombing attack on Tuesday. The suicideattack, which occurred two hours before the boy was shot to death, killed a Canadian soldier and injured three others near downtown Kandahar.

Canadian troops warned the motorcycle to stop, it failed to do so, and a Canadian soldier fired a single bullet that passed through the motorcycle driver, a 17-year-old Afghan, then killed the boy. The teen was injured.

Hillier said the initial reports about the incident suggest it was a very stressful situation but that the soldier who opened fire was following protocol.

Incident will beinvestigated

Hillier, who wasin St. John's to speak to Canada's police chiefs,promised a full investigation into the incident to help prevent such incidents from occurring again.

The body of the boy has been returned to his parents, while the teenager was taken to hospital at Kandahar airfield, where he is said to be in stable, non-critical condition.

Canadian troops in Afghanistanprepared for possible retaliation after the shooting death.

Cpl. David Braun of CFB Shilo, Man., died in the suicide attack. The three wounded soldiers, whose names have not been released, are listed in good condition with injuries that are not life-threatening.

A young girl was also killed in the blast, which occurred when a suicide bomber plowed his car into a Canadian military patrol in southern Afghanistan, officials said.

Hillier extended his sympathies to Braun'sfamily. A ramp ceremony was to beheld for the fallen soldier on Wednesday at Kandahar airfield before his body is flown back to Canada.

Hillier said despite the recent increase in attacks on Canadian soldiers, he does not think the Taliban is growing in strength and number.