Journalist down in Kandahar

Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang was killed yesterday in Kandahar, Afghanistan, along with four Canadian soldiers, when the armoured vehicle in which they were travelling encountered a roadside bomb left by the Taliban. Lang, originally from Vancouver, was 34 years-old.

I’ve now lost count of journalist casualties in Afghanistan, but it is a sobering number. To work in such conditions must be incredibly hard, and require immense courage. Occasionally you hear criticism of journalists being “embedded” with active military units. True, they may be subject to restrictions imposed by military commanders, but without such close quarters reporting we would have no conception of the reality of warfare – beyond the little that military PRs tend to divulge – and know nothing of the personal stories of those who bear arms and fight on our behalf.

We have yet to be told the names of the four Canadian soldiers who lost their lives alongside Michelle Lang. With their deaths the total number of Canadian servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan is now 138. Weighted by population, Canada comes a close second to Denmark in terms of war losses in Afghanistan.

Update (1 January 2009)

The four Canadian soldiers who died alongside journalist Michelle Lang…

Grant Chidley, 21, from Cambridge, Ontario & Langley, British Columbia
Zachery McCormack, 21, from Edmonton, Alberta
George Miok, 28, from Edmonton, Alberta
Kirk Taylor, 28, from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

We will remember them.