- Feb 8, 2007
- Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
I don't really like the title but it's good to see a story being released of how we are all working together.
Canadians 'came to our rescue' in Afghanistan: U.S. colonel
Last Updated: Monday, June 2, 2008 | 12:29 PM ET Comments9Recommend5
A U.S. marine commander is praising Canadian troops who came to his battalion's assistance after a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan.
Col. Peter Petronzio told Canadian reporters over the weekend that while his soldiers are doing a "great job" stemming the flow of insurgents in the Helmand River valley, people shouldn't view them as rescuers.
Rather, he said, it's the Canadians who should be recognized for helping his soldiers in April when a marine convoy struck a huge improvised explosive device near Forward Operating Base Wilson in the Zhari district.
"The first time we conducted a mission, we had some pretty horrible things happen, and the Canadians came to our rescue," he said.
Two marines were killed and two others were seriously wounded in the April 15 explosion.
Canadian troops rushed to provide help and care for the casualties, something Canadian commanders have never discussed.
Petronzio said his soldiers also faced fierce fighting — the worst since they arrived in the region earlier this spring — as they pushed south over the weekend, but he provided no details.
The commanding officer of the 24th Marines Expeditionary Unit said the level of fighting "has stayed fairly consistent" in the winding river valley, which is a major supply and infiltration route from Pakistan.
The seven-month marine deployment in Helmand province will allow Canadian troops to focus on clearing Taliban pockets in the Zhari and Panjwaii districts west of Kandahar City, Petronzio said.
The buoyant tone of NATO commanders is also reflected in British ranks where a senior commander declared on Sunday that Taliban members were on the run and "licking their wounds" in Helmand province, long a cauldron of militant activity.
Brig.-Gen. Gordon Messenger told the British media that insurgents had been tactically routed and intelligence estimates suggested they were now retrenching in Farah province, on the northwest border of Helmand.