OTTAWA (AFP) – A Canadian soldier was killed in a mortar attack while repairing a tank in the northern part of Panjwayi in Afghanistan, Canada’s defense ministry said Tuesday.One other soldier was wounded in the blast, while three soldiers were wounded in a subsequent firefight with insurgents when they tried to come to the aid of their comrades, Brigadier-General Guy Laroche said in a televised briefing from Kandahar.
The deceased soldier was identified as Corporal Nathan Hornburg, 24. He is the 71st Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan since 2002, and the 27th since the start of the year.
The soldiers were helping to establish a police sub-station in the volatile region when the incident occurred Monday, about 47 kilometers (29 miles) west of Kandahar City, the defense ministry said in a statement.
Hornburg had been trying to repair a broken tread on a Leopard tank when he was killed. Three of the wounded were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, Laroche said.
The wounded soldiers are in stable condition, the ministry said.
Operation Sadiq Sarbaaz (Honest Soldier) is a joint Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and ISAF operation aimed at clearing the region of insurgents and bolstering security and policing in the northern part of Panjwayi.
Some 2,500 Canadian soldiers are deployed in the war-torn nation alongside other NATO-led forces to stabilize the country amid an insurgency following the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001.