Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

April 04, 2006 02:37 ET

Canadian Forces initiate formal investigation into March 28 firefight in Sangin district

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN--(CCNMatthews - April 4, 2006) - Today, Brigadier-General David Fraser, Commander Task Force Afghanistan, issued the following statement:

"Following the major action at a coalition operating base in northern Helmand on March 28 and 29 in which a significant Taliban night attack was repulsed and coalition casualties occurred, a preliminary investigation was conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) and the U.S. military.

The initial findings justify the requirement for further investigation to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the firefight, including whether any of the casualties may have resulted from "friendly fire."

As a consequence, a full CFNIS investigation has been initiated. Separately, but in cooperation with CFNIS, the U.S. military is also investigating. Canadian, U.S. and Afghan authorities will collaborate in the conduct of the investigations.

Coalition military operations in Afghanistan are complex. Terrain, weather and threat levels combine to create an extremely challenging operating environment. The fact that this incident occurred at night, with attacks from multiple directions, just adds to the complexity. In this particular action, one U.S. soldier and one Canadian soldier died in the firefight. Five soldiers were wounded - one American, one Afghan and three Canadians.

It is inappropriate for us to speculate on the events of 28 March as they will be examined as part of the investigations. Further information will be made available as appropriate once the investigations are complete."

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