Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan
A Canadian soldier was killed on Sunday after his armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan, a military official said.
The soldier was in a supply convoy in the Panjwaii district, 45 kilometres west of Kandahar, Brig.-Gen. Guy Laroche said.
Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze, 25, was immediately taken from the scene by helicopter, but was pronounced dead on arrival at the medical unit at Kandahar airfield.
"This is a very difficult time for the family, friends and colleagues of our lost comrade," Laroche told reporters.
"Our men and women know we are engaged in a dangerous mission. They also know how important their presence is to the people of Afghanistan.
"They defend those who cannot defend themselves at the risk of their own lives, and they help build a better future for Afghan children by setting the stage for lasting stability," Laroche said.
Hayakaze was based in Edmonton with the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) regiment.
He had been in Afghanistan since last summer and was close to the end of his rotation, Laroche said.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement that the "thoughts and prayers of all Canadians go out to his family, friends and comrades at this very difficult time."
"We will never forget Trooper Hayakaze, whose self-sacrifice served to make life better for so many others."
The latest death brings the total number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the mission began in 2002 to 79. One Canadian diplomat has also died.
Most of Canada's 2,500 troops participating in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan are in and around Kandahar province.