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The Globe and Mail

Canadian soldier dies in southern Afghanistan

Sgt. John Faught, killed in Afghanistan


A Canadian soldier on a joint foot patrol with Afghan soldiers was killed Saturday after stepping on an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan.

The military identified him as Sergeant John Faught, 44, of the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Edmonton.

Brigadier-General Daniel Menard said Sgt. Faught was affectionately known as "Toast," because he was "hard and crusty."

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"He could always be counted on to tell it like it is when asked for his opinion," Brig.-Gen. Menard said in a statement late Saturday.

"He was a very conscientious and thorough section commander who always put the needs of his soldiers above his own."

Sgt. Faught was from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

The incident occurred near the town of Nakhoney in the volatile Panjwaii district, about 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city.

Sgt. Faught was on the routine patrol at about 2 p.m. local time when the roadside bomb exploded.

No one else was hurt.

Sgt. Faught was "very much a father figure" to his younger section members, Brig-Gen. Menard said.

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"He protected them and looked out for them much as a father would."

The latest death brings to 139 Canadian soldiers and two civilians who have been killed in Canada's eight-year mission in Afghanistan.

The incident was also the third lethal strike against Canadian forces by the insurgents in as many weeks.

Nakhoney, one corner of the so-called Panjwaii triangle and a long-time trouble spot for Canadians, has been a hub of insurgent activity.

However, Canadian troops in recent months have made concerted efforts to secure the area.

Lieutenant Andrew Nuttall, who was killed during a foot patrol last Dec. 23, was among a group of soldiers who had been staying outside Nakhoney as part of the military's new strategy of having troops live among Afghans.

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At the time, senior defence officials were adamant the strategy was having "great success" despite Lt. Nuttall's death.

They said locals had increasingly been approaching troops to point out the dreaded makeshift bombs, a devastatingly effective weapon of choice for the insurgents.

The combined patrol on which Sgt. Faught was killed was part of Canada's effort "to protect Afghans from insurgents and to learn more about the people of the village and their needs," Brig.-Gen. Menard said.

"I offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of our great fallen warrior."

On Dec. 30, four Canadian soldiers - Sgt. George Miok, Sgt. Kirk Taylor, Corporal Zachery McCormack and Private Garrett Chidley - were killed along with Calgary journalist Michelle Lang when their armoured vehicle was blown up on the southern edge of Kandahar city.

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