B.C. soldier critical after Afghan attack
Troops believe village ambush may have been a setup

Susan Lazaruk
The Province

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A military reservist from Vancouver who is also an author, entrepreneur, fiance and father was seriously injured in Afghanistan after being hit in the head with an axe yesterday during an informal meeting with village elders that the military called an ambush.

CREDIT: Jon Murray, The Province

After Trevor Greene moved to Vancouver, he worked in journalism and wrote a book about missing women on the Downtown Eastside.

Lt. Trevor Greene, 41, a reserve member of the Seaforth Highlanders Regiment who volunteered to serve overseas for six months, had surgery after being flown to Kandahar Airfield by a U.S. Black Hawk medical helicopter. He was in critical condition yesterday, according to Heather Brunner of National Defence.

"He has a very serious head wound," she said, adding arrangements were being made yesterday to fly him to the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

Greene, who has a toddler and is engaged to a Vancouver woman, according to friends, was deployed to Kandahar last month. He was one of 32 reservists among the 2,200 Canadian troops sent to the war-torn country to carry out Canada's plan to bring it security and help with reconstruction.

Greene's role was that of co-operation officer. He conducted "shuras," sitting down with elders to hear about problems in the hundreds of tiny villages that dot the Canadian area of responsibility.

At a meeting yesterday in the village of Shinkay, about 70 kilometres north of Kandahar, things went horribly wrong.

Capt. Kevin Schamuhn said he and Greene, who had removed their helmets and laid down their weapons out of respect, were sitting under trees on a riverbank having a relaxed conversation with dozens of elders when a man leaped out of the back of the crowd.

"The guy lifted up the axe and called out 'Allahu Akbar' [God is great] -- the jihad prayer -- and he swung the axe into Trevor's head," said Schamuhn, who said he thought Greene was dead because of the force involved.

Canadian and Afghan soldiers shot the attacker dead and then found themselves under small-arms fire from down the river as a second attacker threw a grenade that exploded but didn't cause any harm.

Schamuhn said he thought he and his soldiers might have been set up because there were no men of fighting age to be found in the village afterward and the children were escorted away just before the attack, although there was no other sign of trouble beforehand.

Greene, who has parents, siblings and friends in Vancouver, has had a varied career, graduating in journalism from King's College in Halifax before working as business journalist in Japan for seven years, writing a book about Japan's homeless and then working as an editor for a British bank, according to his website.

He joined the Canadian navy in 1995 and sailed the HMCS Oriole, a sailing vessel used for training, to Australia before settling in Vancouver and joining the army reserves, working again in journalism and writing a book about the women missing from the Downtown Eastside.

Before signing up for duty, Greene worked with an ecotourism company that built swinging bridges.

"He was somewhat excited about going to Afghanistan," said Ian Green, who co-owns the ecotourism company. "Trevor is a pretty adventurous guy. He gets along with people. He's a good guy for talking with people."

"Trevor was really passionate about street people and people on the low track," said Shane Gibson, who co-wrote a business book with him and last saw him when a group of friends gave him a sendoff lunch in Yaletown in January.

"He's very creative and he's an entrepreneur and extremely dependable. We're hoping for the best, and we are all looking forward to him coming back."

He also said on their website, "He is deeply committed to protecting and preserving the freedoms we enjoy as Canadians."

In Afghanistan, Col. Tom Putt called the attacker "absolutely cowardly, a maniac" and vowed the attack would not deter the Canadian battle group, which recently took over responsibility for Afghanistan's six southernmost provinces from the U.S.

"An essential ingredient in meeting with Afghan elders and developing this face-to-face rapport is the shura," he said. "[The attack] will not in any way stop what we're doing."

-- with a file from CanWest News Service

 The Vancouver Province 2006

Trevor Greene, Author, Journalist, Entrepreneur

'He's alive and we rejoice at that'



Book chronicles disappearances-Nov 25, 2001



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