Canadians mourn soldiers killed in Afghanistan

December 15th, 2008 - 1:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Dec 15 (IANS) The death of six Canadian soldiers within a week in Afghanistan has turned the Christmas season sombre with the country mourning its fallen heroes.While three soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) last week on Highway 1 just outside Kandahar city, three more perished Saturday in similar circumstances.

The soldiers were responding to a call that the insurgents were planting the explosives on the highway which carries supplies to an American base in Helmand province.

The killings have taken the Canadian toll in the Afghan mission to 103 dead since 2002 when Canada joined the NATO-led war against the Taliban.

Paying tributes to the dead soldiers, Governor-General Michaelle Jean said Sunday: “Today we are mourning the deaths of three soldiers, after a loss that saddened us deeply only a few days ago.

“May (the families of the soldiers) know that they are not alone to shed tears for these three irreplaceable men.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canadians were “profoundly saddened” by the deaths in Afghanistan.

Saluting the fallen soldiers, the prime minister said Canadians were thankful for their “selfless service to this country, while helping to ensure a brighter future for the Afghan people”.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones as they deal with this tragic loss. I also wish a quick recovery to the other soldier injured in this incident.”

He said Canada would remain “eternally grateful for the sacrifices” of these brave soldiers. “They will not be forgotten.”

According to the defence minister, Canadian forces under the NATO-led mission were making a difference in Afghanistan.

“While challenges remain, Canada is steadfast in its support of the international mission to help Afghans reclaim their country by building a more democratic, free and safe society.”

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