Sgt. John Faught was killed on Saturday after he stepped on an improvised explosive device while conducting a foot patrol with Afghan soldiers.

The 44-year-old, of the Edmonton-based 1st Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, died about 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city at about 2 p.m. local time.

No one else was hurt in the incident.

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard said Faught's moniker was "Toast," because he was "hard and crusty."

"He could always be counted on to tell it like it is when asked for his opinion," Menard said of the Sault. Ste. Marie, Ont. native in a statement on Saturday.

"He was a very conscientious and thorough section commander who always put the needs of his soldiers above his own."

Menard also says Faught took on a paternal role with his younger section members.

"He protected them and looked out for them much as a father would."

Faught died near the town of Nakhoney - one corner of a volatile area known as the Panjwaii triangle, which Canadian troops have been working to secure.

A number of soldiers, including Lt. Andrew Nuttall who was killed during a foot patrol on Dec. 23, have been staying outside Nakhoney as part of the military's new strategy of having troops live among Afghans.

The combined patrol on which Faught was killed was part of Canada's effort "to protect Afghans from insurgents and to learn more about the people of the village and their needs," Menard said.

At the time of Nuttall's death, senior defence officials insisted the strategy was having "great success."

They argued locals were increasingly telling troops where to find roadside bombs.

In all 139 soldiers and two civilians have been claimed since the Canadian mission began in 2002.

On Dec. 30, four Canadian soldiers -- Sgt. George Miok, Sgt. Kirk Taylor, Cpl. Zachery McCormack and Pte. Garrett Chidley -- were killed along with Calgary journalist Michelle Lang when their the vehicle they were riding in hit a buried bomb on the southern edge of Kandahar city.

With Files from the Canadian Press