CP more patriotic than AP

Pte. William Salikin, injured in Afghanistan suicide blast, says he'd return
JULIA NECHEFF March 16, 2006

EDMONTON (CP) - An infantry soldier who suffered head injuries in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan says he wouldn't hesitate to return to the strife-torn country to help the Canadian Forces mission there.

Pte. William Salikin, 22, of Grand Forks, B.C., spoke publicly Thursday for the first time since he and two comrades were wounded in the Jan. 15 blast that killed senior Canadian diplomat Glyn Berry. "I feel great about my time in Afghanistan," Salikin told a news conference.

"As a soldier you want to go on a tour whenever you can, and if the government so chooses that we go to Afghanistan, I'm all for it."

Salikin said he doesn't remember anything about the bombing and was surprised when he regained consciousness back in Canada. His family, he said, is behind him all the way.

"They have shock that I got hurt and all that, but they support what I do."

Salikin also said he believes the mission in Afghanistan is extremely important, and support from Canadians means a lot to the soldiers there.

"As a soldier you have your family back home to support you, you have your buddies. You also need to have the country behind you to support you - that's probably one of the bigger points you can't control yourself."

Risk, he said, comes with the territory. Soldiers "sign on the dotted line knowing what could happen...that people may die on (the current) mission."

However, Salikin said most Afghans are glad for the Canadian presence in their country, and are helpful to the soldiers.

"Like every nation that any military visits, you'll have bad people who want to do bad things to you, so you deal with them," the private said.

"But thankfully, the whole country wants us to be there and so we get a lot of support."

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