Canadian deaths bring Afghan mission toll to 100
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Three Canadian soldiers were killed by a massive bomb in Afghanistan on Friday, bringing to 100 the number who have lost their lives since the country's military mission there started in 2002, officials said.
Canada has around 2,700 soldiers in the southern city of Kandahar on a combat mission that is set to end in 2011. One diplomat has also been killed.
"Already there is talk of numbers and milestones but it is my hope that the focus remains on the lives and sacrifices of these brave soldiers," said Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, who commands the Canadian force in Afghanistan.
The men died when their armored vehicle rolled over an improvised explosive device (IED) west of Kandahar.
"It was a very large IED. It killed them all instantly ... you have good days and you have bad days. It just so happens that today was a particularly bad day," Thompson told a televised news conference in Kandahar.
He named the dead men as Corporal Mark McLaren and Private Demetrios Diplaros. He did not identify the third man.
In a separate incident in Kandahar province on Friday, two Canadian soldiers were seriously injured when a bomb went off near their foot patrol.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper told troops at a military base in Ontario that the military had suffered "three terrible losses". Continued...