Canadian soldier killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan

A Canadian soldier was killed and two others wounded in a roadside bombing attack in Afghanistan about 40 kilometres north of Kandahar on Monday.

2 others suffer non-life-threatening wounds in attack

A Canadian soldier in Afghanistan was killed and two others wounded Monday, in a roadside bombing attack about 40 kilometres north of Kandahar.

Trooper Darryl Caswell, 25,with the Royal Canadian Dragoons based at Petawawa, Ont., died when the bomb went off at 6:25 p.m local time near the vehicle in which he was travelling.

Caswell is from Bowmanville, Ont., according to the Department of National Defence.

"Every loss of a soldier is a significant one. This is another tough one," said Col. Mike Cessford, deputy commander of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, early Tuesday morning.

"Trooper Caswell —young Canadian, great Canadian, died serving Canada and the people of Afghanistan. We'll be thinking of him."

Cessford, himself part of the Dragoons, called Caswell a "great kid."

Two other soldiers suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the blast and weretaken by helicopter to the hospital at Kandahar Airfield for further treatment.

'Difficult security area'

They are expected to return to duty soon, the Department of National Defencesaid in a statement.

Caswell was part of a Combat Logistics Patrol (CLP) convoy, conducting a resupply mission for Canadian troops involved in a joint Afghan-coalition operation in the areawhen the blast occurred, the Defence Department said.

He was deployed with the Reconnaissance Squadron as part of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment battle group.

The convoy was headed to Kharkriz, a northwestern district of Kandahar province, where Canadian forces were working alongside the Afghan National Army in Operation Adalat. The mission isa push against insurgents in the northern reaches of Canada's command.

"This is a difficult security area," Cessford said."It is, in fact, outside our normal development zone."

Canadiansecurity and development efforts have generally been focused in the southern part of the province.

"It's a more difficult area with larger concentrations of enemy forces, of Taliban forces, than we have seen immediately around Kandahar city," Cessford said.

Caswell is the 57th Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan since 2002.

Two-thirds oppose extension: poll

As flags at Kandahar Airfield flew at half-mast to honour Canada's latest soldier to die on duty in Afghanistan, a new poll released to the Canadian Press suggested most Canadians want to see their troops home by no later than February 2009 — the month when the Afghan mission is due to expire.

The new survey, conducted by Decima Research, found that two-thirds (or 67 per cent) of respondents believe Canadian military forces should withdraw from Afghanistan when the current mandate from Parliament is over.

Only 26 per cent of Canadians were in favour of stretching the mission deadline past then, "if that is necessary to complete our goals there."

In Ottawa on Monday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper discussed such a possibility with his Dutch counterpart, Jan Peter Balkenende.

The Decima survey was conducted between May 31 and June 4.

Canada has more than 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, mostly serving in the volatile southern region of the country.

Funeral for Cpl. Priede

The last soldier to be killed in Afghanistan, combat photographerMaster Cpl. Darrell Priede, died on May 30 along with five Americans and a Briton when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter they were flying in crashed in southern Afghanistan.

Priede's military funeral will take placeTuesday afternoon at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick.

With files from the Canadian Press