4 Canadians killed, 6 wounded in big battle with Taliban in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'SitRep' started by 102first_hussars, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    Canadian troops launched a ground assault on an insurgent position Sunday and met fierce resistance that killed four Canadians and injured six others in one of the deadliest battles since Ottawa sent soldiers to Afghanistan in 2002.
    The Canadians moved in with light armoured vehicles in the early morning after NATO forces had pounded enemy positions for more than 24 hours with helicopter gunships, artillery and bombs.

    Taliban insurgents put up a stiff fight, using small arms and rocket propelled grenades to hit back at the Canadians, who later returned to their own stronghold.

    Some soldiers expressed surprise at how stubbornly Taliban fighters had defended their ground, near a river valley that cuts a green ribbon through this desert area west of Kandahar city. Others noted NATO commanders had given everyone including the enemy a few days of advance notice before starting Operation Medusa in Panjwaii district.

    NATO officials maintained the operation was a success, taking out key Taliban command and control facilities. The alliance estimates it has killed 200 Taliban militants and captured 80, and says local residents reported that about 180 insurgents had fled the scene.

    It came at a cost to the Canadian Forces.

    "I am saddened to announce that four Canadian soldiers were killed during today's operations, and a number of others were wounded," Canadian Brig.-Gen. David Fraser said in a briefing.

    "All but one of the wounded is expected to resume their duties within the next few days."

    Two of the dead were identified as Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish and Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan, both of 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Petawawa.

    The names of the other two Canadians killed had not been released at the request of their families.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered "heartfelt condolences" to the families and friends of those killed, as well as his wishes for "the speedy recovery of the six other soldiers who were injured."

    "We are proud of these soldiers' contribution to bring stability and hope to the people of Afghanistan," Harper said in a statement.

    Earlier Sunday, an official with NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, said four NATO soldiers were killed in Panjwaii district and seven wounded. The official did not give their nationalities.

    "They were moving into a position," Fraser said, explaining how the Canadians were killed. "They came under insurgent attacks and during these attacks they succumbed to injuries from the insurgents."

    "Despite these losses, Operation Medusa will continue," Fraser said, referring to the sweeping operation in Panjwaii, a district that covers an area roughly between 20 and 40 kilometres west of Kandahar city.

    "ISAF is determined to remove the Taliban threat from this region," Fraser said.

    Fighting was continuing. U.S. jets and helicopters bombed and strafed suspected Taliban positions late into Sunday night.

    On the frontlines, soldiers felt shock waves from the bombardment as they waited anxiously to learn the identities of the dead Canadians.

    "Most likely they're our good buddies too," said Cpl. J.R. Smith from Mount Pearl, N.L.


    Several seemed anxious to get back into the battlefield.

    "They all know their job, they have a lot of pride in their job, that's why they're here, they know their country is behind them," said Master Cpl. Steve Vukic from Port-au-Choix, N.L.

    "We're all one big unit and we have a mission to do."

    Some soldiers said they did not expect the strength of the Taliban defence.

    "Truthfully, I was surprised by the resistance they put up," said Maj. Geoff Abthorpe, commander of Bravo Company of Task Force Kandahar and a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

    "We came at them with what I perceived to be a pretty heavy fist."

    The last time the Canadian Forces suffered as many deaths in one day was Aug. 3 when two roadside bombings and a hail of rocket-propelled grenades killed four Canadians and injured 10. Most of those casualties occurred near the village of Pashmul within Panjwaii district.

    Sunday's casualties will likely raise questions about NATO tactics. Planning for the assault was supposed to be secret until U.S. Col. Steve Williams laid down a public warning to the Taliban in Panjwaii last week that it was time to run or die.

    Canadians were also warning civilians in the area to leave, dropping leaflets and meeting with local elders. There were no reports of civilian casualties in the latest clashes, NATO said.

    Abthorpe said the warnings were a double-edged sword.

    "Of course any time you broadcast plans as openly as we did to an enemy force they will take the opportunity to do something with that time," Abthorpe said.

    "Time on the battlefield is one of the most valuable weapons we have. There's no denying it would have given the hardliners a chance to dig in that little bit more. But, if they did, that would have been a perfect opportunity for us to identify them through our intelligence assets and pinpoint them. Again, a double-edged sword."

    The marijuana and grape fields along the Arghandab River formed the only green strip for kilometres in a region dominated by desert sand as fine as talcum powder. Soldiers played horseshoes with spent cannon shells as officers prepared to adjust their tactics for another assault.

    "We can learn from what went on down there," said Abthorpe. "We can draw on that experience."

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

    Coalition troops have fought several battles to take and retake the Panjwaii area in recent months. Before Sunday's casualties, at least six Canadians died and 32 were wounded in dozens of bomb attacks and ambushes.

    In June, Canadian commanders declared they had taken the area in the so-called "Battle of Panjwaii." Within weeks, however, the Taliban were once again operating in the area and Canadians were attacked several times a week.

    With the latest deaths, 31 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have been killed in Afghanistan since 2002.

    ISAF, the NATO force, is in Afghanistan to help the Afghan government exert control over a country where insurgents, warlords and drug kingpins hold influence over wide swaths of territory.
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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  5. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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  7. Nonskimmer

    Nonskimmer Active Member

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    :salute:

    Can you believe that commie Jack Layton wants our government to open up talks with the Taliban? Will some things never change? :rolleyes:

    Talks with the Taliban?! Jesus, wake the f*ck up Jack!
     
  8. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    Hell get in bed with everyone, just like the Liberals
     
  9. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    :salute:

    You know, in hundreds of million of years there is one thing that never changed : @ssholes. So why are you so surprised ? Layton is an @sshole.
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Drop him off in the middle of Kandahar province and let him seek out the Taliban for talks - you could retrieve his body in the spring, with a little luck his head will still be attached!
     
  11. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    Yes but if we can find the [email protected], we can draw up the final solution of the @sshole problem :twisted:
     
  12. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    They will be missed.
     
  13. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The Taliban are resourceful, and are becoming quite battle-hardened. NATO should really stop announcing it's intentions, or more deaths will come soon. It's a shame any soldiers have to die, but four is a small number and we're still inflicting heavy loss on the enemy. The numbers will start to rise if we continue to tell the enemy what we're doing though.

    Knowing where the enemy is dug-in doesn't achieve results if you can't destroy it before the troops get there. If the Taliban don't know what's coming and don't dig-in, catch them in the open when they start fleeing.
     
  14. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    "four is a small number and we're still inflicting heavy loss on the enemy. The numbers will start to rise if we continue to tell the enemy what we're doing though."

    Four is four too many,and this is becoming a routine,You think the Canadian military can afford to lose over 1000 men to the insurgents, like the americans have, no! we cant we dont have the manpower to afford that, and news hit again, the U.S military f*cked up again, 1 man has been killed and about 30 others wounded in yet another friendly fire incident, you can probably understand that i am f*cking livid right now.
     
  15. Nonskimmer

    Nonskimmer Active Member

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    I don't imagine the Afghanis are too hellish impressed with the Canadian troops who shot and killed that policeman either. Go figure.

    CBC News: Canadian soldiers kill Afghan police officer
     
  16. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Hussars,

    I have family in the Military also, I feel for those families to. We are doing our part, the best of our ability, to fight terrorists. Whether its 1 Canadian or 1 UK or 1 US soldier its too many, one death is one death, they are all too many but they are the cost to fight terror.

    US military is doing the best it can also, it also bears alot more weight in the global fight vs terror so I think we Canadians can cut them some slack. It was a accident thats all it was, they were doing their job the best they can.

    Do you think we could do it any better??? Accidents happen, they are tragic but they still happen.

    Don't focus your anger at the US military when it should be focused at terrorists. We are all in this fight together, some contribute more than others but we all fight side by side. USA has lost alot more people than we have. A USA death is no less than a Canadian death.

    Where would the world be without USA aid in fighting terror?

    Stay focused on the real enemy here.....terrorists.
     
  17. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    "US military is doing the best it can also, it also bears alot more weight in the global fight vs terror so I think we Canadians can cut them some slack. It was a accident thats all it was, they were doing their job the best they can."

    I dont doubt that the U.S military is doing whatever it can to prevent such things, but im not going to just turn the other cheek when these things happen, im sorry, my grandfather was crippled by a P-51 tank-buster, his Sherman was bombed, he lossed his leg and the use of his right arm, you can say this was an accident, i will accept that, but if you look up accident in the dictionary, it will say, "a negative result due to human error" all accidents are preventable.

    And yes Nonskimmer, i see what your saying, the shooting of that Afgani Police Officer was horrrible, but im gonna hold my breath until there is more info, because it says that the guy was not in uniform and he didnt yeild to warning shots, and after a firefight with guys in a speeding van, thats a big no no.
     
  18. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Hussar's,

    I deal every day in numbers, humans are not perfect, all accidents cannot prevented 100% of the time. They will happen as long as we have humans doing anything. Humans make errors. All we can do is "try to reduce" the numbers of accidents.
     
  19. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    Actually you are wrong, you know what the numer 1 type of injury in Canada alone is?

    Its preventable injury, Accidents
     
  20. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    No I am not wrong Hussar. Are you perfect? no

    Am I perfect? no

    None of us are. We are human.

    Preventable means that is "possable" to prevent something. But thats with 20/20 hindsight, humans are not all knowing all seeing. When you place humans in stressful job while multitasking they will make mistakes. I deal with this everyday of my life. Thats is large part of what I do for a living. Mistakes happen, once thats excepted all you can do is learn from that mistake to see if it can prevented from happening again in the future.

    I deal with work place injuries all the time, all we can do is our best to forsee and prevent accidents from happening. Being 100% mistake free means you are doing nothing or you are dreaming. Humans make mistakes, machines are not even mistake free b/c they are programmed and made by humans.

    Mistakes happen.

    Here is the Webster meaning for "preventable" :To keep from happening or existing. To hold back: hinder: stop.

    To me the key word pertaining to this talk is "hinder". We can do all we can to hinder or reduce accidents from happening. We will never....ever stop 100% accidents from happening as long as we are humans.
     
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