Canadian soldier killed, others wounded in ‘friendly fire’

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. warplanes mistakenly strafed Canadian troops fighting Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan, killing one soldier and seriously wounding five on Monday in an operation that NATO claims has also left 200 insurgents dead.

This is not the first “friendly-fire” incident involving US pilots and Canadian Ground troops.

On April 18, 2002, four Canadian soldiers were killed in what became known as the Afghanistan friendly fire incident: Sgt. Marc Léger, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, Pte. Richard Green and Pte. Nathan Smith. Eight other soldiers were wounded during a night-time live-fire training exercise near Kandahar and Tarnak Farms. The four were killed when an American F-16 fighter pilot, unaware of the exercise, noticed the ground fire and responded by dropping a bomb without determining who the combatants were. These were the first Canadian soldiers to be killed in combat since the Korean War. The pilot, U.S. Air Force Maj. Harry Schmidt, disobeyed an air controller’s order to “standby” while information was verified. Schmidt was initially charged by the U.S. Air Force with 4 counts of involuntary manslaughter and 8 counts of assault. The charges were dropped in June 2003 and in July 2004 he was found guilty of dereliction of duty. [here]

UPDATE: Seems that the Canadian soldier killed on Monday was a track star at Nebraska.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Mark Graham, a former Nebraska track star, died Monday in Afghanistan while serving with the Canadian military. He was 33. [here]