canadian forces afghanistan
Canadian soldiers fought honourably against an enemy who preyed on the innocent civilians of Afghanistan. Our effort helped turn the tide against the Taliban. We've also helped create an institution, the Afghan Security Forces, that is respected in a country where other elements of Kabul's writ raise concerns over human rights and corruption. And as our mission changes, we can still look back on these years proudly. From Matthew Fisher in The National Post:
“I want to share our successes and explain how we got them, and I want to learn from their experiences,” Brig.-Gen. Habibi said of his upcoming trip during an interview at an Afghan army battalion headquarters, at an austere forward base in Panjwaii that was teeming with Canadian, U.S. and Afghan troops.
“It is a matter of fact that the Canadians sacrificed a lot here. I remember there were 400 or 500 Taliban in the area when the Canadians came to Kandahar in 2006. They are the ones who stood with us and fought not only in Panjwaii but across the province. The enemy is on its knees here now. The truth of it is that it is because of the hard work of the Canadians.”
Canadian army mentors went to great lengths to teach Afghanistan’s “new army” to respect human rights, the general said.
“It is from the Canadians that we learned how to treat prisoners of war,” he said. “All of our foot soldiers now know this. The Canadians taught us how to behave according to democratic principles.”
Canadian soldiers who have fallen in Afghanistan were honored in the Memorial Ride for the Fallen in Afghanistan this weekend. The soldiers certainly do deserve our support for their essential work as part of the international mission helping the people of Afghanistan. I was glad to see this proposal from participant Sean Loucks about a BC-based Highway of Heroes, as quoted in the CBC:
"It would be nice to have [a highway] out here 'cause it's not just soldiers from Ontario, it's soldiers from across Canada … we lose soldiers from across this great nation of ours so to have one out here would be amazing."
The Canadian Veterans in Afghanistan report will be on Vancouver OMNI channel 8, Ariana TV, May 1st at 11am-1200pm. PST.
The same program will be repeated on Monday May 3rd at 1:00pm PST.
Camera Operator & Editor: Wahid Nabi
Broadcaster: Dr. Spogmai Wassimi
In a surprising development, the Canadian government has announced it is sending 90 more soldiers to help train local police and the national army. This is very welcome news, and very much in keeping with the recommendations in our report, Keeping Our Promises.
"The government of Canada is proud to contribute additional Canadian Forces personnel to prepare Afghans, in order to build a stable, strong and peaceful nation, which they deserve," says Defence Minister Peter MacKay (CBC).
However, the announcement included the provision that these troops would return to Canada after 2011. Again, we're back to using a completely arbitrary timetable to determine our level of commitment when a far more rational approach would be to plan for the long term and adjust to actual conditions in 2011. Perhaps the ANA really will be up to snuff by the end of 2011.
Or, as many analysts believe, the ANA may require training support for a few more years before it is able to truly defend Afghan sovereignty from the depredations of the Taliban, who appear to be receiving the benefits of a different source of international support.
The deadline MacKay and others refer to is the end of our formal support for the Canadian battlegroup's presence in Kandahar (not necessarily, as some believe, a predetermined end for ALL military support for Afghanistan). Yet a scaled down mission more focused on training, consultation with NATO and the Afghan government and perhaps protection of our own humanitarian aid and development assistance personnel, ought not be lumped into the same pile. Deadlines are fine, but they ought to be informed by the actual situation on the ground, not determined on a whim.
CASC co-founder Terry Glavin explains how the international mission in Afghanistan is looking towards long-term success in defeating the Taliban and restoring peace to this fragile land. An excerpt:
From Lewis MacKenzie, retired Canadian Forces major-general, in his Globe Op Ed about Canada's commitment to Afghanistan after 2011:
"Parliament's decision that Canada will terminate its Afghan combat role
in 2011 – that is to say, its battle group of about 1,000 soldiers
“outside the wire” securing ground and seeking out insurgents – is
already generating more smoke than fire in the media. And we still have
two years to go!..