Two Canada soldiers killed by blast in Afghanistan

Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:26am EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Two Canadian soldiers were killed and four were wounded by a bomb blast in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, the defense ministry said on Sunday.

The men, along with an Afghan police officer and a local interpreter, died about 15 miles west of Kandahar.

Canada has now lost 106 troops since it first sent forces to Afghanistan in late 2002. There are around 2,700 Canadian soldiers in Kandahar -- a stronghold of Taliban militants -- on a mission that is due to end in 2011.

Defense Minister Peter MacKay said Canada would not be deterred from carrying on with the mission.

"The Taliban cannot be allowed to once again plunge Afghanistan into a state of repression and fear," he said in a statement on Sunday.

Ottawa frequently complains that Canada, along with a handful of other NATO members, is being asked to carry a disproportionately heavy share of the fighting in Afghanistan.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by John O'Callaghan)