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Two CH-146 Griffon helicopters come in for a landing at Kandahar Airfield, prior to a night patrol on Friday Feb. 20, 2009. (Murray Brewster)
Two CH-146 Griffon helicopters come in for a landing at Kandahar Airfield, prior to a night patrol on Friday Feb. 20, 2009. (Murray Brewster)

Canadian soldier found shot Add to ...

A Canadian soldier who had just arrived for his tour of duty in Afghanistan was found shot in the abdomen near his sleeping quarters on Kandahar Airfield Thursday morning.

The incident was non-combat related, however it was unclear whether the injury was self-inflicted or accidental, military officials said today.

The soldier, whose identity was not being released, was evacuated to Landstuhl military hospital in Germany, where he is in critical but stable condition. "We don't think he was shot by anyone else," said Major Mario Couture.

Asked if the incident was an attempted suicide, Maj. Couture replied: "... the investigation will determine that."

"Was it his own gun? Was it somebody else's? We don't know. I cannot speculate," he added.

The soldier, he said, had arrived at Kandahar Air Field "five or six days ago."

Maj. Couture said the incident was being probed by the National Investigation Service, but stressed enemy action had been ruled out as a cause of injury. The shooting occurred Thursday at 9:30 a.m. local time, near the Canadian bunkers on the sprawling, dusty base.

Military and civilian personnel rushed to the scene. The soldier was rushed to the military hospital on base.

No further details were available. Military officials have refused to identify the soldier's home unit or say what his position was. The military also said the soldier's family had been notified.

The incident comes four months after Major Michelle Mendes, a military intelligence specialist with Task Force Kandahar, committed suicide in her living quarters, shooting herself in the head with her service pistol.

Her death has raised questions over the pressures soldiers face in the field and whether they are adequately prepared by the military to cope with the stress of active duty.

Follow on Twitter: @soniaverma

 

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