KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — An improvised explosive device blast has claimed the life of another Canadian soldier in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Martin Goudreault, 35, was on a foot patrol investigating a suspected weapons cache near the village of Nakhonay, about 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city, when the IED exploded at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.
The Sudbury, Ont., native was a member of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment based at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton, serving with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.
Brig.-Gen. Jon Vance, the commander of Task Force Kandahar, said Goudreault was recognized early in his career for his leadership.
“Sgt. Goudreault was a model soldier, someone the soldiers in his section could look up to and emulate.
“Insurgents hide their weapons and IEDs amongst the civilian population and soldiers like Martin, both Canadian and Afghan, are working each and every day to find and eliminate these weapons caches,” said Vance.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his condolences to Goudreault’s family and friends.
“The lives of the Afghan people are better due to the efforts of Canadians like Sergeant Goudreault who provide security and stability,” Harper said in a statement.
“These are the cornerstones that will allow the country to rebuild and grow into the future.”
Defence Minister Peter MacKay called the latest death “a tragic loss” saying it is another example of the daily risks faced by the men and women of the Canadian Forces.
“Sergeant Martin Goudreault’s sacrifice will not be forgotten and it will not deter us from continuing to help Afghans rebuild their country.”
The latest death brings to 147 the number of Canadian military personnel who have died since the Afghan mission began in 2002.
It comes less than two weeks after another soldier, Trooper Larry Rudd of Brantford, Ont., was killed by an improvised explosive device in the Panjwaii district.
Known as the birthplace of the Taliban, the Panjwaii district has been a bloody battleground for Canadian troops since they arrived in Kandahar province in strength four years ago.
Dozens of Canadians have been injured or killed in the restive district, and while villages and towns have been repeatedly cleared, the Taliban has quietly reasserted itself in parts of the region.
IEDs have been the single biggest cause of death among Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
Seven out of nine Canadian deaths this year were the result of an IED blast. In all, 88 of the 147 Canadian fatalities in the eight-year-old Afghan mission came about from IEDs — roadside bombs or some other type of explosive, according to the Department of Defence.
Two civilians — diplomat Glyn Berry and journalist Michelle Lang — have also been killed in Afghanistan.