A young reservist from Thunder Bay, Ont., has been killed in battle in Afghanistan, a day after Taliban militants wounded two other Canadians in the same area west of Kandahar City.
The international and Afghan forces have been battling since Friday night in the southern area, considered to be a hotbed of Taliban activity over the past few months.
Cpl. Anthony Joseph Boneca, a 21-year-old reservist from the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment based in Thunder Bay, died on Sunday morning, military officials said.
Top general vows to push on
Brig.-Gen. David Fraser, Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan, called Boneca's death a tragic loss.
But Fraser said it wouldn't deter Canada's 2,300 soldiers from continuing their mission. They're part of the U.S.-led international forces that have been trying to stabilize Afghanistan since the Taliban government was ousted after the al-Qaeda attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
"We're going to carry on operations as they are going on right now," Fraser said. "We're not going to pull back. We're going to push through for as long as it takes."
Boneca on 2nd tour, uncle says
Boneca's uncle, William Babe, said his nephew was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan and serving with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
"He spent his last tour in Kabul, and this year, when the war escalated, he went to Kandahar with the Princess Pats," Babe told CBC News from Thunder Bay.
"He was due home at the end of this month."
A solemn military ceremony for the soldier was expected to be held on the Kandahar airfield on Monday, but there has been no word yet on when his body will be returned to Canada.
Boneca was 17th Canadian soldier to be killed in Afghanistan since the first battle group was sent to the country in February 2002. A Canadian diplomat was also killed.