The text below is an excerpt from Friendly Fire.
It is the early morning of April 18, 2002, following the mayhem of a bomb attack on a section of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, outside Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Edmonton-based soldiers were conducting a live-fire training exercise at a former al-Qaeda compound when a U.S. fighter pilot mistook them for the enemy. At Tarnak Farm, A Company begins to board the trucks that will take them back to camp. Out of habit , Lt. Luft conducts a roll call of his platoon. 1 Section. Here. 2 Section. Here 3 Section. Alastair stops himself. There is no 3 section. Except for Cpl. Chris Oliver, the troops are either dead or in the medical tent. The guys left behind watch the trucks drive away. For nearly two hours, everyone has been operating on instinct, on training. but now, all the noise, all the adrenaline, are gone. It's suddenly real. Four men are dead. Outside the ambulance, Wilson and Speirs are chain-smoking Korea 88s, replaying the chaos and confusion of those first few minutes. Could we have been faster? Did we save everyone who could be saved? There will always be doubts... By now, there is little doubt about what happened. Some of the guys heard the jet. Some even saw it. They don't know the details yet. Nobody really does. But the Taliban doesn't have any F-16s. That was a U.S. bomb. "How could this happen to us?" Sgt. Favasoli asks Cpl. Filis. "How could this happen to coalition forces?"
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About the Author
Michael Friscolanti is an award-winning reporter at the National Post who covered the friendly fire story from the night of the fatal bombing that killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. He quickly emerged as one of the foremost reporters on this story, traveling across Canada and the United States to investigate the unfolding drama. Along the way, he broke many of the most important stories about the case, including the first-ever interview with one of the pilots. A graduate of Ryerson University's two-year post-graduate journalism program, he has worked at the National Post for nearly four years. Along with his regular assignments, he has often appeared on Global Television and various radio stations to discuss his stories, which included a stint in Washington, D.C. during the sniper shootings and a recent visit to America's terrorist prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 2001, Friscolanti was awarded the Canadian Association of Journalists Award for Excellence in student journalism.