Canadian soldier killed in firefight
Three others wounded, U.S. soldier slain in day-long battle with Taliban forces
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KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- A Canadian soldier was killed and three others wounded early this morning in what appears to have been a prolonged and vicious firefight with the Taliban.
Private Robert Costall, a member of the First Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, "died while defending his fellow soldiers and we will not forget his sacrifice," a sombre Brigadier-General David Fraser, commander of both the Canadian operation and the multinational Task Force Aegis, said at Kandahar Air Field.
He made the grim announcement at what is called "the memorial" here, a small, quiet corner of the sprawling base, which is home to about 9,000 soldiers from eight nations and where most of Canada's 2,200 troops are stationed.
Here, some of the 11 Canadian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan -- through the typical lethal local combination of friendly fire, vehicle rollovers, suicide bombs and improvised explosive devices -- are honoured on black granite plates attached to a large boulder.
Behind Brig.-Gen. Fraser, the Canadian flag had already been lowered.
A U.S. soldier was also killed, an unidentified number of Afghan National Army soldiers were killed and injured, and a "significant number" of Taliban died in what was already a protracted, day-long battle.
No further details about Pte. Costall, either his age or hometown, were released, nor did Brig.-Gen. Fraser identify the three wounded Canadians, citing operational concerns.
He said that none of the three was seriously wounded, and that he had visited them and a wounded ANA soldier at the coalition hospital on the air base and found them all in good spirits.
But Brig.-Gen. Fraser said that even today, coalition forces -- including Canadians, Americans and the ANA -- continue to battle Taliban insurgents near Sangin in Helmand province, about 175 kilometres northwest of Kandahar.
It appears to be the first time that a Canadian has been killed in Helmand, a hotbed of insurgency.
Canadians had moved into the district, which is under British control, in response to an earlier attack that left eight ANA soldiers dead.
At 10 p.m. Tuesday local time, Brig.-Gen. Fraser said, the joint forces were "attacked by the Taliban," and 4 ½ hours later he got the news that Pte. Costall was dead and the others wounded.
According to Brig.-Gen. Fraser, the fight began yesterday and was still raging last night, demonstrating "our resolve to counter the Taliban and others who would try to destabilize Afghanistan. We will continue to take the fight to them because they're trying to destabilize the government and terrorize the people."
The deaths capped the end of a particularly vicious day for Canadians in neighbouring Kandahar province, where there were six separate roadside and suicide bomb attacks.
RIP Soldier, your sacrifice is not in vain....
You never hear much about Afghanistan anymore.
Thanks for posting seems AFGHANISTAN doesnt get much press anymore.
Thanks for the post, TP.
We must remember our friends to the North.