After a two-month period of relative calm, Canada lost another soldier in Afghanistan.
British Columbia native Lt. Andrew Nuttall, 30, of the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was killed Wednesday by an improvised explosive device while on patrol about 25 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City, in the town of Nakhoney.
An Afghan soldier was also killed and an interpreter was seriously injured in the explosion.
“Andrew came to Afghanistan because he honestly thought he could make a difference to the people of Afghanistan,” Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard, commander of coalition forces in Kandahar province, said.
“He wanted to lead from the front and set the example, attributes he passionately displayed every time he was in front of his platoon.”
Menard said Nuttall was patrolling to find Taliban routes and protect villagers from insurgents.
A ramp ceremony at Kandahar Airfield was held shortly after the military announced Nuttall’s death. His remains are on a Christmas Eve flight back to Canada.
Nuttall is survived by his mother and father, who issued a statement following their loss. The soldier’s family said they are proud of his decision to serve in the military and believed his contribution to the Afghanistan effort was making a difference.
“We have lost a bright light in our lives,” the family said.
Since the Afghan mission began in 2002, 134 Canadians have been killed in the country and IEDs, like the one that killed Nuttall, have been responsible for a large portion of those deaths.
Of the 89 Canadian deaths in Afghanistan since April 2007, 66 have been the result of IEDs, including Sapper Steven Marshall, who was killed by a homemade bomb on Oct. 30.
“Canadians are proud of our military men and women,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement early Thursday. “We support their families, and all those who serve and sacrifice to protect the interests and values of Canadians. We will not waiver in our goal of helping Afghans rebuild their country as a stable, democratic and self-sufficient society.”
With files from the Canadian Press