VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
TREVOR GREENEThere is very sad news today about Trevor Greene from Vancouver who is an Author, Journalist and Entrepreneur who wrote the first book about Vancouver's missing women, "Bad Date, The Lost Girls of Vancouver's Low Track." Trevor is from Vancouver and was attacked in Afghanistan. A message can be sent to Trevor and his family through this link: http://www.closingbigger.com/page154.htm
Soldier attacked with axe in Taliban ambush
Sunday, March 05, 2006
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Canadian soldiers expecting a peaceful meeting with Afghan villagers yesterday instead walked into an ambush that left one officer so badly wounded by an axe blow to the head that his comrades thought he had been killed instantly.
Capt. Kevin Schamuhn said he was sitting under some trees on a riverbank with Lieut. Trevor Greene, of Vancouver, having a relaxed conversation with the elders from a village in the Gumbad area, 50 kilometres north of Kandahar, when something went horribly wrong.
A man leaped out of the back of the crowd and pulled out an axe, Capt. Schamuhn said in a satellite telephone interview from Gumbad. "The guy lifted up the axe and called out 'Allahu Akbar!' -- the jihad prayer -- and he swung the axe into Trevor's head."
Canadian and Afghan soldiers who had been providing security for the meeting fired several shots into the attacker and a firefight erupted.
"He was killed immediately and fell down into the riverbed," Capt. Schamuhn. "There was an eruption of gunfire, small arms ... there was a whole bunch of explosions and a very heavy volume of fire, so I wasn't sure if we were actually under fire or if it was just my own forces shooting.
"It turned out that we were under fire from the south of the river ... with small arms, other people were firing at us, but we have no details as to how many and where they were exactly. We didn't get any eyes on (them)."
Minutes later, another man threw a grenade at an Afghan National Army vehicle, which exploded, but did not hit anyone; he was shot at by the Afghan and Canadian soldiers, but escaped.
Capt. Schamuhn said he thought Lieut. Greene had been killed by the axe blow, but found when the platoon medic checked on his friend that he was still alive. "It was my initial assessment that Trevor was dead on impact because of the force with which the axe hit his head. Fortunately that was not the case; the medic came up to him and found that he was still alive."
A U.S. Blackhawk medical helicopter was called to transport him back to Kandahar Air Field, where he underwent surgery and was listed in serious but stable condition yesterday.
Col. Tom Putt, the deputy commander of the Canadian-led brigade in southern Afghanistan, called the attacker "absolutely cowardly, a maniac" and vowed the incident would not deter the Canadian battle group, which took over responsibility for Afghanistan's six southernmost provinces last week from an American task force. "It will not in any way stop what we're doing," he said.
"An essential ingredient in meeting with Afghan elders and developing this face-to-face rapport is the shura ... The majority of these come off very, very well, in fact we've had several hundred."
Capt. Schamuhn said his men and the Afghan soldiers with him pursued their attackers into the village, but found that almost immediately the men had disappeared.
"When they got up to the village there were no fighting age males to be found. They had all basically just disappeared (and) we had no idea where these men ran to.
"All of the men who could have been accomplices disappeared."
No villager would say who the dead attacker was.
But he was convinced that he and his soldiers had been set up by the villagers. "We flew the banner of peace," Capt. Schamuhn. "Trevor and I, when we go into these, we both took our helmets off, we both laid our weapons down beside us and sat cross-legged with the men. We were completely vulnerable to them and they took full advantage of that."
Capt. Schamuhn said he had started to believe the oft-repeated Afghan contention that foreigners are causing all the trouble. He doesn't believe it now.
"This guy, he was a local villager from this village who was coerced or persuaded by some outside force to do this against us," Capt. Schamuhn said.
Capt. Schamuhn said they had a meeting at a village a few kilometres away just before the ambush and said that was "the most warmly we'd been welcomed to date."
He said there was almost no sign of trouble before the attack, although in hindsight there were clues. "About two or three minutes before the incident, all of the children who were with us were escorted away about 20 to 30 metres away," he said.
"None of us picked up on this. There was no weird feeling, there was no bad feeling that something was about to go down. Everything was very calm."
Much of Lieut. Greene's work as a co-operation officer was conducted at shuras: councils or meetings of village elders, which many Canadian officers attend regularly, sitting down with Afghan leaders to sip tea and listen to complaints and problems from the heads of the hundreds of tiny villages that dot the Canadian area of responsibility.
The Taliban appears to have seen that as an opportunity and Col. Putt acknowledged that in the future, security will have to be tighter at such meetings.
"Like any of the operations we're conducting outside of the city, this says they're dangerous," he said. "Does it mean that we're going to stop doing it? Absolutely not, it's just that we have to be much more aware of the local security situation over there."
Lieut. Greene was operating out of a "platoon house" on the outskirts of Gumbad, a fortified farmhouse compound used as a fire base by Alpha Company of the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
The base is home to more than a platoon of infantry, their LAV-III armoured troop carriers and a varying number of Afghan National Army soldiers. From the heavily fortified walled compound, the soldiers of Alpha Company patrol the surrounding countryside, long a hotbed of Taliban activity in the region.
Two weeks ago, the Canadians drove off a rocket-propelled grenade attack by an unknown number of Taliban with machine-gun fire and illumination rounds from nearby Canadian artillery which lit up the area around the firebase and forced the attackers to flee.
The attack is the fourth on Canadian troops in the past week and follows the first death in the battle group, a soldier killed in a vehicle rollover Thursday.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2006
Book chronicles disappearances in Canada's poorest postal code
Trevor Greene, Author, Journalist, Entrepreneur
Updated: August 21, 2016