December 31st, 2009
12:41 PM ET

Canadian reaction to deaths of four troops, journalist

Update: 1:17p.m.: The names of the four Canadian soldiers killed Wednesday have been released.
– Sgt. George Miok, a member of 41 Combat Engineer Regiment, based in Edmonton, Alberta
– Sgt. Kirk Taylor, a member of 84 Independent Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, based in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
– Cpl. Zachery McCormack,  a member of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, 4th Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta
– Pvt. Garrett William Chidley, a member of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba

The Canadian press Thursday is focused on the violence yesterday in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Four Canadian soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb struck their armored vehicle in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. The soldiers' names have not been released.

 Michelle Lang, a journalist for Canwest and the Calgary Herald, was also killed.

“The attack took place near Dand district, which is home to the village of Deh-e-Bagh, held up as a ‘model’ of Canada's counterinsurgency strategy at work: Constant patrols and development projects were supposed to have won the trust of Afghans in the region, and driven down the insurgency,” reported Sonia Verma of the Globe and Mail.

“Villagers interviewed by The Globe, however, said the Taliban had been gaining strength in recent months, posting ‘night letters’ - written warnings and edicts - on homes and mosques in the area.”

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard “declared that Dand remained a ‘safe area’ and expressed confidence that this was an isolated incident,” the CBC reported

Lang is the first Canadian journalist killed while covering the story in Afghanistan, according to Canadian press reports.

“[Lang] never took the easy way out, whether it was holding government to account or travelling to a busy African AIDS clinic to chronicle the downside of recruiting foreign doctors,” the Calgary Herald wrote.

The 34-year-old was reportedly planning on getting married this summer. "She had everything going for her this year," friend and colleague Colette Derworiz said in the Herald report. "She excelled in journalism. She excelled in her personal life."

Read the memo by the CEO of  Canwest Publishing about the death of Michelle Lang.

Patrick White, a reporter for the Globe and Mail, wrote a memoriam for Lang, whom he worked with during his time in Afghanistan.

“Far from reckless, she asked dozens of questions about safety, both from fellow reporters and soldiers,” White writes. “They told her that the only sure way of keeping safe was to stay firmly ensconced ‘inside the wire’ – behind the blast-walls of Kandahar Air Field, home to over 25,000 NATO troops and a small phalanx of media relations personnel.”

She was way too good a reporter for that.”

Some other news reports and perspectives:

- CBC: In the line of duty, Canada's casualties

- Calgary Herald gallery: Remembering Herald reporter Michelle Lang

- Calgary Herald:  Michelle Lang's Afghanistan blog

- Patrick White and Anna Mehler Paperny (Globe and mail):  "Award-winning journalist loved the work and knew the risks"

- Related, Canada's role in Afghanistan

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