KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The latest Canadian soldier to lose his life in Afghanistan was a “fine soldier” whose death offers another grim example of the Afghan mission’s often heavy toll, the commander of the Canadian troop contingent said Thursday.
But the death of Pte. Sebastien Courcy, who died during an operation in the Panjwaii district, will not deter Canadian forces from its ongoing goals, Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance said during a news conference at Kandahar Airfield.
“These security operations are sometimes accompanied by a heavy price — the heaviest there is — but the challenges we face will not deter us from our ultimate goal and commitment we have to Canada’s role to bring about positive change for the people of Kandahar,” Vance said.
“Sebastien gave his life for Canada. Such is the price soldiers must sometimes pay to honour their obligation to their country and to the missions set before them.”
Vance said Courcy was killed during an operation in a village in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar, about 17 kilometres southwest of Kandahar.
The 26-year-old soldier was a member of 2e Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment — known as the Van Doos — based at CFB Valcartier outside Quebec City. His death brings to 125 the number of Canadian soldiers who have died as part of the Afghan mission since it began in 2002.
Vance said Courcy arrived in Afghanistan in April.
“At the time of his death he was participating in an important operation to separate the insurgency from the population in Panjwaii district,” Vance said.
He said Sebastian fell from his position on a piece of high ground during the operation, resulting in his death. No other soldiers were injured.
Courcy is survived by his mother, Ginette, and his sister Julie.
July is shaping up as one of the deadliest months on record for international forces in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
According to figures compiled by The Associated Press, there have been at least 47 deaths among NATO nations, including five Canadian deaths.
Cpl. Nick Bulger was killed July 3 by a roadside bomb, Master Cpl. Pat Audet and Cpl. Martin Joannette were killed July 6 in a helicopter crash, and Master Cpl. Charles-Phillippe Michaud died July 4 from injuries suffered during a foot patrol in Panjwaii in June.