OTTAWA Corporal Michael Starker, of 15 Field Ambulance, was killed today and another soldier was injured when they came under enemy fire during a patrol in the Pashmul region of the Zharey district. The soldiers were immediately evacuated by helicopter to the Canadian-led multinational hospital at Kandahar Airfield, where one soldier was pronounced dead. The other soldier is in fair condition and stable. The incident occurred at about 11:45 a.m. Kandahar time. The families of both members have been notified.

At the time of the incident, the soldiers, their colleagues and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) were conducting a civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) patrol in the area. These patrols are part of the many ways ANSF and ISAF show their presence, interact with the local population and discuss development needs of the community.

This incident will not deter us from continuing our work with the Government and the people of Afghanistan. Incidents like this one prove that, along with our Afghan National Security Force partners, Canadians need to continue working to bring about peace and security in the region.

These are difficult times for the families, friends and colleagues of the soldier who died in this incident. Our hearts go out to them at this time and the Canadian Forces will do its utmost to help the next of kin of this brave Canadian.