Canadian soldiers killed, wounded by U.S. A-10 Thunderbolts' "friendly fire"

Monday, September 4, 2006

A Canadian soldier, Pte. Mark Anthony Graham of Hamilton, Ontario, was killed and more than 30 were wounded, five seriously, in Afghanistan today in an incident being described as "friendly fire".

The Canadian soldiers came under cannon fire from NATO airplanes, reported to be two U.S. A-10 Thunderbolts, also known as the Warthog.

Brigadier-General David Fraser, the Canadian commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in southern Afghanistan said an investigation has been ordered; "An aircraft flying in support of ISAF operations accidentally engaged a Canadian position in Panjwaii at approximately 5:30 this morning, killing one soldier and wounding a number of others. An investigation has been ordered into this event and while this event is tragic, Operation Medusa and the Canadians continue to operate in the Panjwaii district in support of Afghan government efforts to rid the area of Taliban."

"We've got to find out what were the details there." said Fraser. "We do have procedures, we do have communications, we do have training and tactics and techniques and procedures to mitigate the risk, but we can't reduce those risks to zero."

Four Canadian soldiers were killed in a 2002 "friendly fire" incident when they were bombed by an American F-16 fighter plane.