Four Canadian soldiers killed, eight wounded in Kandahar
March 21, 2009
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Four Canadian soldiers were killed and eight others wounded Friday in two bomb attacks in Kandahar province, the Canadian military said.
Canadian forces reported that two soldiers died and five others were injured after a bomb struck their foot patrol Friday morning in Zhari district, about 24 miles west of the provincial capital of Kandahar. One Afghan interpreter was also killed, and another was wounded.
In a second attack, two soldiers were killed and three others were wounded after their vehicle was struck by a bomb while on patrol in Shah Wali Kot district, about 12 miles north of Kandahar city, Canadian forces said.
Earlier, at least 33 Taliban fighters were killed in gunbattles with U.S. and Afghan forces, the U.S. military said.
Thirty Taliban were killed Thursday in the Gereshk district of Helmand province. Three others died Friday during a raid in Logar province, south of the Afghan capital of Kabul, the military said.
In the first clash, Afghan soldiers accompanied by U.S. advisers were conducting "combat reconnaissance in an area of known militant presence" when Taliban fighters fired on the troops with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, U.S. Forces Afghanistan said in a statement.
A firefight ensued, and U.S. forces called in an airstrike. No civilians were harmed in the battle, and one Afghan soldier was wounded, the military said.
"After positively identifying the enemy fighting position and assuring there were no non-combatants in the area, the combined element returned fire ... killing 30 militants," the statement said.
Helmand province, which is the leading producer in Afghanistan’s multibillion-dollar opium trade, has also been one of the provinces hardest hit by the renewed Taliban insurgency. Most of the coalition troops fighting in Helmand are British, but U.S. Marines are also posted in the province, and small teams of U.S. forces are embedded as advisers with Afghan army and police units.
President Barack Obama has promised to send another 17,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan to reinforce the 38,000 troops already in the country, and a new U.S. war strategy is expected to be announced soon.
But the Taliban also have promised to step up their attacks against U.S. and other coalition forces.
U.S. military and other coalition military officials here say they expect Taliban attacks to increase after the poppy harvest is over in the coming weeks.
In a separate incident early Friday, the U.S. military said U.S. and Afghan forces killed three militants and detained another suspect during an operation that targeted a cell making bombs to attack the Afghan capital.
The raid occurred on a compound in the Baraki Barak district, about 36 miles south of Kabul. The military said Afghan and U.S. forces moved seven women and 14 children out of harm’s way before the three armed militants were killed. One of the militants was killed after he was found hiding behind livestock during a search. The other two were killed after they barricaded themselves in a building, the military said.