Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Taliban suicide bomber kills 18 in Kabul, including high-ranking Cdn. officer and five American soldiers
The powerful blast occurred on a major Kabul thoroughfare that runs by the ruins of a one-time royal palace and government ministries. It wrecked nearly 20 vehicles, including five SUVs in the NATO convoy, and scattered debris and body parts across the wide boulevard as U.S. troops and Afghan police held a security cordon around wrecked cars, the bus and sports utility vehicles. There were no obviously military vehicles but NATO troops often travel in unmarked SUVs in the capital.
The Canadian Forces colonel has become the latest casualty of Canada's mission in Afghanistan, and the highest-ranking soldier to give his life for the mission since it began in 2002.
Col. Simon Hetherington, deputy commander of Task Force Kandahar, explained that Col. Geoff Parker was the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and was in Kabul to interact with international organizations there in an effort to prepare his team for their upcoming mission."He was a career infantry officer — a proud member of the Royal Canadian Regiment — who excelled in virtually every position he held in the Army," said Hetherington.
"As a battalion commander, he led his soldiers from the front and with distinction. The post he was preparing to fill was important and of such high profile, he was hand-picked from across the Army to do so. A rising star, his potential was undeniable."
"Geoff could be incredibly funny and he had a truly infectious laugh and smile; to some, he was simply known as Parker, because that's what his wife called him," Hetherington said.
"We all knew him to be remarkably smart and the consummate professional officer. Equally important, he was always standing by as a friend. He knew when to give you the hard truth to get you going and when to lend a sympathetic ear."
Posted by Bonnie Toews at 3:16 PM