Thursday, 17 September 2009
A blast from another improvised explosive device has killed one more Canadian soldier in Afghnaistan. Twenty-three-year-old Private Jonathan Couturier of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment, based in Valcartier, Que. was serving his first tour of duty when he was killed on Thursday. He was the 131st soldier to die on this conflict and the fourth to die this month.
Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance said a Canadian armoured vehicle struck an IED at 10:15 a.m. local time about 25 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city in Panjwaii district.
"Jonathan joined the Canadian Forces only three years ago, with the hope of serving his country and ensuring peace and security for Canadians and other populations in dire situations around the world, and he fulfilled that desire during his time here in Afghanistan," Vance said.
"You were an honour to serve with and your dedication to Afghans and Canada will never be forgotten."
Colonel Jean-Marc Lanthier, commander of the 5th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group at CFB Valcartier, was visibly upset as he reacted to the death.
Lanthier said his professionalism was recognized by his comrades during his short military career.
Lanthier said Couturier "courageously served his country … and the determination of his brothers-in-arms is only strengthened" by his death. Lanthier said the latest death is difficult for the base, which has lost four soldiers in 15 days.
Most of the soldiers from the base are scheduled to return home next month after a six-month tour. Lanthier acknowledged the mission has been hard on families.
"They are probably all glued to their TV sets .… They're probably very glad that [the soldiers] are coming home, but it doesn't mean that they don't support the mission."
It is an emotional time, Lanthier admitted in French.
"They're our soldiers, they are our brothers. We are responsible for them. We love them, we raised them, we trained them. It is hard, I can't hide it. But we must make the distinction between pain and discouragement. I, too, will be happy when all my guys and girls will be back. No doubt."
Lanthier does not believe the increasing number of IED attacks are not a sign the insurgency is growing.
"If we were not successful, we would be marginalized. (The Taliban) would ignore us. Because we're having success, we're bringing stability. We're showing to the Afghans that democracy is possible, that security is possible."
"They, therefore, have to take action in order to break that perception of security. And that is probably why the number of strikes has increased in the last little while."
Couturier is survived by his partner Andréanne, his parents and two brothers.
Posted by Cramahe Now at 22:18