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Afghan dangers deepen
Description: The recent deaths of six soldiers in a roadside explosion are the first Canadian casualties after the Conservative government's controversial motion took effect extending the military mission in Afghanistan. Michael Byers, academic director of UBC's
Date: 11 April 2007
Author: Charlie Smith
Source: Georgia Straight
The recent deaths of six soldiers in a roadside explosion are the first Canadian casualties after the Conservative government's controversial motion took effect extending the military mission in Afghanistan. Michael Byers, academic director of UBC's Liu Institute for Global Issues, pointed out that the two-year extension took effect on March 1.

"So these are the first casualties in hostile action that we've suffered since the extension kicked into force," Byers told the Georgia Straight. "In that very important sense, these are Stephen Harper's first casualties."

Shortly before the Straight went to press on April 11, CTV reported that two more Canadian soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan. Ottawa hadn't released any details by deadline.

There are currently about 2,500 members of the Canadian Forces stationed in Afghanistan. Sgt. Donald Lucas, Cpl. Brent D. Poland, Cpl. Aaron E. Williams, Pte. Kevin V. Kennedy, Pte. David R. Greenslade, and Cpl. Christopher P. Stannix were killed on Easter Sunday when their light-armoured vehicle struck an "improvised explosive device", according to the National Defence Department.

Byers said it's more dangerous to be a Canadian soldier in Kandahar than to be a U.S. soldier in Iraq. "This bomb that killed the six Canadian soldiers would have had to have been an extremely powerful and sophisticated weapon," Byers said.

He added that this bomb was so destructive that it would have "sent a chill down the spine" of the entire officer corps of the Canadian Forces. "Regardless of one's views of the politics or of the wisdom of the mission, we all know that our soldiers are doing their very best at whatever task is given to them," Byers said.


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