OTTAWA — Military police are investigating “despicable” fake calls to families of Canadian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan to say their sons or husbands had died in combat, authorities said Wednesday.
The impostor telephone calls were made to families of soldiers based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier in Quebec, National Defense spokeswoman Chantale Le Bouthillier told AFP.
She said the Canadian Forces always delivers news of a soldier’s death in person, and never over the telephone.
At least three prank calls were made to various military families, public broadcaster CBC said. One woman was reportedly told her husband was killed in a roadside blast last week.
Military police have asked anyone else who may have been targeted by the prankster to contact local authorities.
Defense Minister Peter MacKay expressed “disdain” at the prank calls, describing them as “insensitive, amoral and disgusting.”
“Military personnel should not be needlessly worried about their families when they are fighting for our country in far away lands,” he said, adding “It is our hope that the perpetrators of this despicable action are brought to justice.”
Canada currently has 2,800 combat troops in Afghanistan. They are mandated by parliament to return home next year after nine years of battling insurgents as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.
The conflict has claimed the lives of 152 Canadian soldiers, as well as a journalist, aid workers and a senior diplomat since the start of the Canadian mission in 2002.
Most of the deaths occurred in southern Kandahar province — the cradle of the Taliban insurgency.