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Top message:  Hi by theycallmeanerd78   Sep 4, 2006, 5:53 PM

Replying to:  Re: Hi by theycallmeanerd78   Sep 4, 2006, 6:30 PM

Re: Hi

by newfette    Sep 4, 2006, 6:40 PM ... »

Cdn soldier killed by friendly fire More than 30 wounded

PANJWAII, Afghanistan — Canadian soldiers were barely roused from sleep Monday morning when U.S. warplanes mistakenly strafed them, killing one soldier and wounding more than 30 others.

The troops were camped near their armoured vehicles in an open area on the south bank of the Arghandab River and had not launched operations at the time of the incident, according to a senior officer.

The sun was up and skies were clear with the normal dusty haze of the Afghan desert at 5:30 a.m., when two A-10 Thunderbolts opened fire.

“I’m not sure who brought them in and for what reason,” said Maj. Geoff Abthorpe, one of two company commanders running the ground operation in Panjwaii, west of Kandahar. “It wasn’t us, of course. We were getting prepped to go out but our first air mission wasn’t scheduled until 30 minutes later.”

The targeted soldiers had camped for the night in an open area on a hill and were getting ready to support Abthorpe’s company as it moved north of the river.

“They were ... marshalling and getting into position to support my mission,” Abthorpe said, calling the incident “a freak accident.”

Abthorpe guessed the soldiers were shaking sleep from their eyes and dust from their gear when they were suddenly peppered by shrapnel from the cannon fire of the two Thunderbolts, nicknamed Warthogs.

The death brought to five the number of Canadians killed in Panjwaii fighting.

The friendly fire incident Monday was the second similar incident since Canadians began operations in Afghanistan more than four years ago.

Four soldiers died in April 2002 when a U.S. F-16 fighter mistakenly bombed Canadians on pre-dawn training exercise. Eight others were wounded.

Canada has about 2,200 troops based in southern Afghanistan. Most of the Canadian combat units are participating in Operation Medusa.

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