Tag Archives: Canada-Afghanistan

Canada Extends Afghanistan Mission

The Canadian govenment is confronted with the reality it must require longer deployments for its soldiers in Kandahar province in Afghanistan as the military struggles to find sufficient bodies to cover the needs of fighting in that faraway land. The Canadian mission has been extended for at least two more years. At present there are 2,500 Canadian troops in Afghanistan and they probably will be compelled to remain there at least into 2011. Defence Minister Peter MacKay says Canada has an effective infantry force of about 5,000 which means half will be deployed to Afghanistan for the forseeable future.

Canada currently has its soldiers serve for six months in Afghanistan and then return home for about a month. This policy has upset American military leaders who believe short term deployments impair the ability of a fighting force to accomplish its job. American soldiers serve 15 month tours which allows them more time to build relationships with local leaders and become familiar with local needs.

Canadian miiltiary and civilian leaders are concerned about the effect on morale of its fighting men and women. There is no question fighting in Afghanistan has strained Canadian resources to the limit.

Lost in discussions about length of tours is the larger question as does anyone have a long range plan as to what should be accomplished in Afghanistan? Rhetoric about “victory” are words tossed around without any explanation as to their meaning. What would constitute “victory in Afghanistan?” Is it a military or a political victory? Or, does it entail both?

Europe In Or Canada Out Of Afghanistan

Prime Minister Sephen Harper told President Bush his natin will end its militay mission in Afghanistan unless another NATO country agrees to dispatch more troops to assist in the fighting. Harper’s Conservative govewrnment is under pressure to withdraw Canada’s 2,500 man contingent from Kandahar province after the deaths of 78 of its soldiers. The mssion is set to expire by 2009 without an extension granted by the Canadian Parliament. The refusal of European nations to send more troops to the southern front lines has created a rift within NATO. Troops from Canada, Britain, the Netherlands and the U.S. have borne the brunt of action with some assistance from Denmark, Romania, estonian and the non-NATO Australia.

Harper spokesperson, Sandra Buckler said: “He underscored that, unless Canada was able to meet the conditions specificed by the panel of additional combat troops and equipment from NATO allies, Canada’s mission in Afghanistan will not be extended.” Bush promised to send an additional 3,200 Marines to Afghanistan but Harper wants Europe to fully participate in the struggle.

A major factor in the rise of European discontent with Afghanistan stems from lack of a coordinated long-range goal. The NATO, American and Afghan forces have used the same tactics for six years and the situation grows worse. Suggestions like paying Afghan farmers for their poppy crop to end their support for the Taliban are rejected by Bush or suggestions to bring the Taliban into the government are discounted. These may not be the best solutions but the United States and NATO must begin to think in new terms or the same old results will occur.