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Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan

A Canadian soldier has been killed in Afghanistan after stepping on an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol near Kandahar city.

A Canadian soldier died in Afghanistan after stepping on an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol Sunday morning, just southwest of Kandahar city.

Pte. Tyler William Todd was 26 years old and based in Edmonton. ((DND))

Pte. Tyler William Todd, 26, was killed around 7:30 a.m. local time near the town of Belanday, eight kilometres outside the provincial capital, said Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard, Canada's top commander in Afghanistan.

The area is a known transit route for Taliban fighters, who use the arid grape and wheat fields as staging areas for attacks into the city itself.

The Canadian battle group supported an Afghan National Army sweep of the area further south of Belanday a few weeks ago and had been assured by villagers that the Taliban had fled.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement offering condolences to Todd's family and friends.

"The thoughts of an entire country are with you in this most difficult time," he said.

It's unclear if any other soldiers were injured in the incident. The military no longer discloses information about battlefield injuries.

However, Harper mentioned in his statement that he hoped the other Canadian soldier injured in the same incident has a "quick and full recovery."

Defence Minister Peter MacKay praised Todd's bravery in a statement.

"Our Canadian Forces members … face an enemy that will go to any length to try to undermine any progress made. The courage demonstrated by Pte. Todd speaks volumes to his dedication to our country and to this mission."

Todd was on a routine patrol, speaking to villagers to learn more about the area's needs, Menard said.

The soldier was born in Bright, Ont., southwest of Kitchener, and served with the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based at CFB Edmonton.

Menard described him as someone who was dedicated and likeable with a good sense of humour.

"Tyler was a practical joker. He would often hide rocks and candies in the other soldiers' beds," the general said.

"His enthusiasm and strong will were inspirational to his platoon. He was doing what he loved to do, being a soldier operating alongside his friends," he added.

Todd's death brings to 142 the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan since Canada's combat mission began there in 2002.

Four civilians have also been killed, including one diplomat, one journalist and two aid workers.

With files from The Canadian Press