Thursday, July 16, 2009

Now and Then in Panjawaii

NOW News Staff

Updated: Thu. Jul. 16 2009 4:13 PM ET

Another Canadian soldier has been killed in Afghanistan, making July the deadliest month ever for coalition troops in the country.

Pte. Sebastien Courcy died Thursday during a counterinsurgency mission in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar province.

Reporting from the Canadian base at Kandahar, Dene Moore of the Canadian Press told CTV News Channel the circumstances surrounding Courcy's death were unusual.

"He fell from his position, it was a high position on a cliff. He fell and was killed," Moore said, "there were no other soldiers injured."

It is not clear whether Courcy was involved in a firefight at the time.

Courcy, 26, was a member of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal 22e Regiment, also known as the Van Doos.

Courcy was described as a "fine soldier" by his commander Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance.

THEN News Staff

Updated: Sun. Sep. 17 2006 11:54 PM ET

A top NATO general says the alliance's massive, two-week-long anti-Taliban offensive in southern Afghanistan has been "successfully completed."

Lieut.-Gen. David Richards, head of the 20,000 NATO-led force, hailed Operation Medusa in the insurgent stronghold of southern Afghanistan as a "significant success.''

Reconstruction and development efforts will soon begin in three southern areas, said Richards, after coalition forces drove insurgents from their positions.

"The ability of the Taliban to stay and fight in groups is finished," said Asadullah Khalid, Kandahar province's governor. "The enemy has been crushed."

NATO launched Operation Medusa on Sept. 2 with the aim of clearing out Taliban fighters from a Panjwaii district near Kandahar. NATO said its troops killed 512 Taliban and captured another 136.

For the people who lived there, the victory comes at a cost.

"The bombing and the fighting destroyed our mosque, our homes and our vineyards," said one farmer. "The Taliban are gone, but so is most everything else."

Gen. David Fraser, the Canadian NATO commander in southern Afghanistan, said: "There has been battlefield damage largely because of where the Taliban went. We will go back out there and we will help rebuild that."

No damage estimate has been calculated yet, nor has a timeline been set out for rebuilding.