Roadside bomb kills Canadian soldier in Afghanistan
First casualty of new Quebec-based contingent
A Canadian soldierfrom the Montreal area was killedearly Sundaywhen the convoy he was travelling in hit a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan,military officials said.
Pte. Simon Longtin, 23, ofLongueuil, Que.,was amember of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment, the famedVan Doos, based in Valcartier. He was the 67th Canadian soldier to be killed in Afghanistan since 2001.
"It's very, very saddening news," said Col. Christian Juneau,deputy commander of the Canadian joint task force."It's like losing almost a brother … brother in arms, so it really touches every one of us deeply. We will pay our respects. We will mourn our colleagueand carry on."
Prime Minister Stephen Harperextended his condolences to Longtin's family andcompared Sunday'sloss with one suffered 65 years ago, in the Second World War.
"In marking the 65th anniversary of the Dieppe raid, wepay tribute to the soldiers of our past. The sacrifices of soldiers like Pte.Longtin carry on this legacy today."
Longtin'slight armoured vehicle (LAV) struck the roadside bomb at 1:40 a.m. local time, five kilometres east of thevillage of Masum Ghar. Hewas evacuated by helicopter from the scene of the attack, but was pronounced dead on arrival at the military hospital in Kandahar, Juneau said.
The death is the first among the ranks of the 800-memberRoyal 22nd Regimentsince they began a six-month tour in Afghanistan at the end of July.
Quebecers have not favoured the troop's involvement in Afghanistan. In recent months, protesters in Quebec City marched against Canada's role there, and a poll done at that time suggested more than two-thirds of Quebecers didn't want troops in Afghanistan.
Sunday's incidentwasthe third attack on Canadians in a week.
Last Sunday, five soldiers were injured when their RG-31 vehicle hit a roadside bomb on the same route as Sunday's fatal attack. And on Friday, two soldiers were slightly injured when an armoured tracked vehicle was struck by a similar improvised explosive.
On July 4,five Canadian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb while travelling in a light armoured vehicle just west of Kandahar.
Canada has more than 2,000 troops in Afghanistan, with the majority stationed in the volatile southern province of Kandahar.
With files from the Canadian Press