Canadian soldiers fatally shoot taxi driver

Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan fatally shot a taxi driver that came too close to their patrol, military officials said on Wednesday.

Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan fatally shot a taxi driver who came within less than a metre of their patrol, military officials said on Wednesday.

The shooting happened late Tuesday local time, about four kilometres from the Canadian base in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, said Capt. Julie Roberge.

Afghan police have launched an investigation.

The man, identified as Nasrat Ghali and believed to be in his mid-40s, was driving a three-wheeled motorized taxi known locally as a rickshaw. Canadian troops fired warning shots at him after he drove through an Afghan police checkpoint, coming within less than one metre from the Canadian vehicle, said Lt.-Col. Derek Basinger, chief of staff for Task Force Afghanistan.

"Our rules do not allow any Afghans to come within a certain distance," Basinger said.

The taxi driver was treated by the Canadians at the scene, but later died in hospital.

There were no passengers in the vehicle at the time of the shooting.

Radio broadcasts warn locals not to drive too close to military patrols because of the threat of suicide attacks.

Basinger said Canadian troops have fired at roughly 10 Afghan vehicles in the past month.

Two Canadian soldiers were killed when their armoured vehicle crashed into a taxi on the outskirts of Kandahar on March 2. Cpl. Paul Davis and Master Cpl. Timothy Wilson died in the incident, which injured five other soldiers.

One day later, five more Canadians were injured when a suicide bomber drove a small truck into their convoy near Kandahar.

More than 2,200 Canadian soldiers are stationed in and around Kandahar as part of a multinational brigade under the command of Canadian Brig.-Gen David Fraser.