Afghan attack kills five Canadians

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The blast of an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kandahar, Afghanistan killed four Canadian soldiers and one journalist, while also injuring a civilian and four other soldiers.

The group was travelling as part of a provincial reconstruction team when the attack, which took place at 4PM local time, when the armoured vehicle they were travelling in struck the IED approximately 1,500 metres from the Dand district centre, which Canadians had helped rebuild after a suicide attack in April. This attack comes on the same day as an attack that killed eight US civilians and one week after the death of Lieutenant Andrew Nuttall. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Brigadier General Daniel Ménard has stated Dand continues to be a "safe area" and stated confidence the attack was an isolated incident.

Those injured in the attack were moved to the field hospital at Kandahar Airfield and are expected to survive. No further details on the injured, including their names and conditions are expected to be released.

The deceased soldiers were identified as Sergeant George Miok, Sergeant Kirk Taylor, Corporal Zackery McCormack and Private Garrett Chidley. The journalist was identified as Michelle Lang, 34, of Calgary, a reporter with the Calgary Herald, on secondment to the Canwest News Service for a six week tour with the Canadian Forces in Kandahar. The US Ambassador to Canada, as well as Governor General Michaelle Jean have issued statements expressing condolences for those lost in the incident.

To date, 138 soldiers and four civilians have died in the war-torn country. Lang is the first Canadian journalist to die in the conflict, with seven journalists from other countries also having died.