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the afghan mission

Casualty is Canada's 157th Afghan death Add to ...

Canada's latest casualty in Afghanistan was identified as Master Corporal Francis Roy, a nine-year veteran of the Canadian Forces who was serving as a transportation specialist attached to the elite Special Forces in Kandahar.

Brigadier-General Dean Milner, the commander of the Canadian task force, said he died of non-combat wounds, but gave no further details.

The circumstances surrounding MCpl. Roy's death are under investigation but “enemy action” has already been ruled out, according to a spokesman for Canadian Forces.

Other possibilities would include suicide or accidental death.

Canadian Special Forces, like their counterparts in other armies, are a highly secretive branch. In Afghanistan, they operate outside the overall NATO command structure on more targeted counter-terrorism operations.

MCpl. Roy began his military career in 2001 as an infantryman with the Royal 22e Regiment. Four years later, he qualified as a transport specialist. In 2009, he volunteered to join the Special Forces based out of Petawawa, Ont.

Gen. Milner described him a respected and hard-working soldier who was on his second deployment to Afghanistan and was passionate about old cars, fishing and running.

MCpl. Roy, he added, would always be remembered.

“As we say farewell to our fallen comrade we shall continue to dedicate our efforts to improve security and stability here in Afghanistan,” he said. “We will maintain our resolve and remain committed to the mission during our final days.”

The body of MCpl. Roy, a native of Rimouski, Québec, was found early Saturday by fellow soldiers but, at the request of his family, his name was not immediately made public.

He is the 157th Canadian to die in Afghanistan and the second in the past month to die of injuries not related to combat. He is the second soldier working in a Special Forces support unit to die in Afghanistan.

In 2007, Master Corporal Anthony Klumpenhouwer was killed when he fell from a communications tower.

This latest death comes as Canada is shutting down its combat mission and sending the troops home.

The withdrawal is set to be completed by the end of next month, although some units of the 1st Battalion Royal 22e Regiment have already shipped out as American soldiers take over Canadian operations in Kandahar province.

It is only the second NATO country to pull out, following the Netherlands, although the United States and several European countries announced plans to start a gradual withdrawal of troops this summer.

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