Canadians in Taliban territory brace for ‘fighting season’

June got underway Monday with a bang — two of them, actually — for Canadian soldiers deep in the Taliban badlands of southern Afghanistan’s Panjwaii district, more evidence of a seasonal escalation in potentially lethal insurgent activity.

PANJWAII DISTRICT, Afghanistan — June got underway Monday with a bang — two of them, actually — for Canadian soldiers deep in the Taliban badlands of southern Afghanistan’s Panjwaii district, more evidence of a seasonal escalation in potentially lethal insurgent activity.

The new month followed one in which Canadian soldiers took only a few minor casualties, including one who was shot clear through the arm but luckily suffered little damage. Another soldier’s eardrums burst as the result of an explosion.

“So far we’ve been quite lucky,” said Maj. Steve Jourdain, commander of a small patrol base, rapping his knuckles on the wooden table in front of him.

“There is a good star shining upon this place.” Everyone, of course, is hoping the streak of relative good fortune continues. The odds, however, appear to be diminishing.

The end of the poppy harvest means more idle hands, more human fodder for Taliban recruiters to press into battle against Canadian and other international forces fighting to bring stability to the violence-racked country.

“There really is a fighting season,” Jourdain said at the small base about 35 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city. “What I would expect is maybe more direct-fire engagements, more attempts to contact the troops on the ground.”

An increase in insurgent activity has been apparent in recent days to those on the base, home to more than 150 infantrymen, along with combat engineers, an artillery troop and members of the Afghan National Army.

Just Posted

Most surveyed Innisfail residents give urban chickens the thumbs up

Town of Innisfail will discuss whether to allow backyard chickens on Monday

Second attempted ATM theft at Red Deer IGA

Anyone with information is asked to contact RCMP

City businesses must have licences

Businesses can apply through new system online called MyLicence

Solar panels installed on city bus station

$550,000 project will generate power for city

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Study of U.S. hospital figures links pot use with increased risk of stroke

MONTREAL — New research is being presented at a conference in Montreal… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

Most Read