Four Canadian soldiers and a Canadian journalist have been killed after their armored vehicle was hit by a bomb in southern Kandahar province.
AFP - Five Canadians -- four soldiers and a journalist -- were killed Tuesday in Afghanistan by a bomb that exploded as their armored vehicle passed by, a Canadian general announced Wednesday.
General Daniel Menard, the head of Canadian forces in Afghanistan, announced the deaths on Canadian television without naming the victims.
Public television station CBC identified the journalist killed as Michelle Lang, a reporter with the Calgary Herald, who was on her first trip to Afghanistan and was the first Canadian reporter to die in the country's conflict.
"Yesterday Canada lost five citizens," Menard said. "Four soldiers and one journalist were killed as a result of an improvised explosive device attack on their armored vehicle during a community patrol in Kandahar City."
Menard said a Canadian civilian official was also injured in attack.
The soldiers were patrolling "to gather information on the pattern of life and maintain security in the area," he said.
"The journalist was travelling with them to tell the story of what Canada's soldiers are doing in Afghanistan," he said.
"On behalf of all the soldiers, airmen, sailors and special operators of Joint Task Force Afghanistan I offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of our fallen," he said.
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper also offered his condolences to the families of the Canadian soldiers who he said had "paid the ultimate price while courageously serving their country."
"Their sacrifice will not be forgotten," he said.
"Also fallen is a brave reporter, Michelle Lang, who lost her life reporting on the invaluable work being done by Canadian soldiers, aid workers and diplomats in Afghanistan," he added.
"While not regularly the subject of news, those journalists who risk their lives reporting alongside the men and women of the Canadian Forces in one of the most dangerous regions in the world should not be forgotten."
The deaths, which raised to 138 the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, came just hours before a suicide attack that killed eight US civilians at a military base in eastern Afghanistan.
Canada has some 2,800 troops deployed in the Kandahar region, a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan. They are supposed to return home in 2011.
Date created : 2009-12-31