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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Taliban Issue Warning As Fallen Troops Returned to Canada

As Canadian families received the remains of four soldiers killed in Afghanistan, a Taliban official delivered a chilling warning to NATO soldiers.

"We will increase the attacks against NATO, Canadians and other foreign supporters in the south [of Afghanistan]," Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said in an interview with the Canadian Press.

"We have got more suicide attackers, so of course suicide attacks will be increased," Ahmadi said.

Ahmadi also said that the insurgents are not specifically targeting Canadian soldiers.

Ahmadi's threat was made after four soldiers were killed in two separate incidents on Aug. 3, near the village of Pashmul.

Cpl. Christopher Jonathan Reid, 34, of Truro, N.S. was killed when his armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.

Later the same day, Taliban militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades killed Sgt. Vaughn Ingram, 35, of Burgeo, N.L.; Cpl. Bryce James Keller, of Edmonton; and Pte. Kevin Dallaire, 22, of Calgary.

Based in Edmonton

All four of the soldiers were members of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Edmonton.

Minister of National Defence Gordon O'Connor and Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean joined the families of the soldiers at the repatriation ceremony at Canadian Forces base Trenton in Ontario on Sunday evening.

Earlier Sunday, a British soldier was shot and killed as NATO troops moved farther into the mountains of southern Afghanistan. The NATO troops clashed with insurgents in Helmand province's Musa Qala, officials said.

Suicide bomber

On the outskirts of Kandahar, where the coalition troops are based, a suspected suicide bomber in a truck packed with explosives crashed into a military convoy, injuring one coalition soldier.

Later in the day, three rockets hit the coalition base but caused no damage or injuries.

Local police reported that Afghan and British ground forces killed 17 Taliban insurgents in fighting on Sunday.

NATO-led troops have suffered nine fatalities — five of them Canadian — since they took over control from a U.S.-led coalition last Monday.

Canada has about 2,200 soldiers in Afghanistan.


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