Thursday, July 20, 2006

Do We Look Like The Taliban?

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Canadian troops narrowly missed death and serious injury when an American jet dropped a 225-kilogram laser-guided bomb on their position earlier this month in an incident frighteningly similar to the friendly fire attack that killed four Canadian soldiers in 2002.

Soft ground prevented a bloodbath, soldiers said of the incident the military has kept quiet.

Pte. Rob Adams, who was kneeling five metres from where the bomb landed and was completely engulfed by the fiery flash, received a concussive head injury. He was airlifted by helicopter to hospital at the coalition's Kandahar Airfield base.
Although 17 Canadian troops were within 45 metres of the blast, and shrapnel splinters up to a half-metre long littered the farmer's field where the laser-guided bomb hit, nobody died. But nearly a dozen soldiers were blown through the air.

"We heard it coming. What went through my head was, `I can't believe they bombed us,"' said one soldier who had been standing just over 10 metres from the impact point.

Another soldier, 25 metres away, was smashed so hard to the ground that the edge of his helmet was pushed in. He is still suffering severe headaches from the July 8 incident.
Had the ground been harder, the three closest soldiers would be dead, and several more severely injured, soldiers said.

"It was soft dirt, so (the bomb) went way deeper than it should have, and the blast went straight up," said one non-commissioned officer.

The crater measured about three metres deep and two metres across.

The near catastrophe occurred around 7 a.m. midway through a chaotic 12-hour battle in Pangawayi, 30 kilometres west of Kandahar. The pilot of the A-10 Warthog ground-attack jet mistook the Canadians for Taliban, the NCO said.

"He's coming in fast, he's coming in low, he's in the middle of a war zone, and he made a wrong call," the NCO said. "That happens. Those guys cover us a lot."

Source: National Post


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