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Shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act.


Slain Canadian soldiers named

Jane Armstrong, Globe & Mail, 15 Oct 06

with files from Canadian Press


Kandahar, Afghanistan — Two Canadian soldiers were killed Saturday afternoon near the same dangerous road construction project in southern Afghanistan where three other Canadians have lost their lives this month.


Sergeant Darcy Tedford and Private Blake Williamson are both with the 1st battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment.


They were killed when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded over their heads west of Kandahar.


They were guarding a road being built by Canadians that would link the violent Panjwaii district with a main highway that is a prime target for insurgent attacks.


The fallen soldiers will be honoured in a special ceremony in Kandahar before making their final journey home, but the exact timing is not being released.


Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack and are in hospital in serious, but non-critical condition.


Two others were injured when Taliban insurgents attacked Canadian soldiers with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire in the Pashmul area, a cluster of villages in the strife-torn Panjwai region. Those soldiers are now in a non-critical condition.


It is believed a rocket-propelled grenade burst overtop some soldiers in an armoured vehicle, killing two and injuring two more, said Colonel Fred Lewis, deputy commander of Canda's Task Force in Afghanistan.


"My understanding is that two of them may have been inside the vehicle, but hatches open, and two others may have been outside," Col. Lewis told reporters Saturday night.


A near three-hour gun battle between the Canadians and Taliban fighters ensued, Col. Lewis added. "After the first 15 minutes or so, we were the ones doing most of the shooting."


Last Saturday, Trooper Mark Andrew Wilson of the Royal Canadian Dragoons was killed when his armoured vehicle hit a roadside bomb. Trooper Wilson was part of a patrol sent to retrieve a group of soldiers who were attempting to secure a crucial north-south road under construction.


Four days earlier, Sergeant Craig Gillam and Corporal Robert Mitchell, also of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, were killed in an ambush while they guarded a construction crew on the same road.


Canadian soldiers are attempting to build a north-south road to give local villagers a link to the busy east-west Highway One in southern Afghanistan.


It's in the same region where Canadians led a massive offensive against the Taliban last month, killing hundreds of insurgents according to NATO.


But the insurgents who retreated last month have retaliated with a series of deadly suicide bombs, roadside bombs and ambushes on Canadian soldiers.


The military and international non-governmental organizations say road-building is a crucial part of Afghanistan's recovery from 30 years of war.


Brigadier General David Fraser, commander of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan, said the Taliban attacks on the road projects reveals their contempt for average Afghan citizens.


"The Taliban do not like roads, because roads means sic freedom of movement, freedom of action, increased security because Afghan security forces can patrol it, people can move more freely," he told reporters.


"The security forces are out there now securing the roads, so that the people can have freedom of movement. And what do the Taliban do? They attack the security forces, they attack the people here. They attack the future of Afghans, local Afghans that we have come here to help."


Saturday's casualty toll caps a bloody weekend for coalition troops and civilians in southern Afghanistan.


On Friday morning, an American soldier was killed and another injured when a suicide bomber in a car rammed an explosives-packed van into an American convoy in Kandahar city. The blast killed nine Afghan civilians and injured another eight.


NATO troops who called in to secure the bomb site later shot and killed an Afghan man who they say approached the cordoned area but refused to back away despite warnings in English and Pashto. NATO is investigating the shooting.

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