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Canada Afghan death toll hits 100

Canadian soldiers in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan (file image)
Canadian troops will remain in Afghanistan until 2011

Three Canadian soldiers have been killed by a bomb in south Afghanistan, bringing to 100 the number of Canadian troops to die in the conflict.

Canada's top commander in Afghanistan, Brig Gen Denis Thompson, defended the country's mission, saying his troops were bringing "peace and stability".

He said the focus should remain on the "sacrifices of these brave soldiers".

Canada has 2,500 troops based in the south of Afghanistan as part of Nato's mission to fight the Taleban.

One Canadian diplomat has also been killed in the country.

The three soldiers were killed when their armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED) on a patrol west of Kandahar city.

Brig Gen Thompson told a news conference Canada had lost "three fine soldiers" but that his troops were "not the type of people to sit idly by" in the face of attacks.

"Each one lost his life serving his country and has helped Afghanistan to find stability and security," he said.

Canada's military mandate in Afghanistan is set to end in 2011.

Brig Gen Thompson said Canadian forces would remain on the offensive against insurgents over the winter so next summer's fighting would not be as "rigorous" as in 2008.

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