Thursday, July 07, 2011

Canada ended combat operations in Afghanistan

I am posting this Ottawa Citizen article that marks the end of Canada's combat operations in Afghanistan. Many men and women went over there to serve; 157 did not return. The future of Afghanistan? To be continued.

Related lotusandcedar blog articles:

* 靈魂之窗: 加拿大士兵与阿富汗女孩 / Windows to the Souls: Karine Blais & Sharbat Gula


After 9 years, Canada ends combat operations in Afghanistan

By Matthew Fisher, Postmedia News

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Canada's first war in more than half a century ended at 11:18 a.m. local time Thursday (Haricot: 02:48 a.m. in Ottawa Thursday), about 300 metres away from where the first Canadian combat troops set foot in Kandahar on Jan. 19, 2002.

The seventh and last Canadian to command Task Force Kandahar, Brig.-Gen. Dean Milner, signed over responsibility for Canada's battle space to Col. Todd Wood of the 1st Stryker Combat Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, as NATO's senior officer in the south, U.S. Army Maj.-Gen. James Terry, presided.

Milner repeatedly returned to the close friendships he had forged with Afghan security forces during a sometimes emotional address at the "transfer of authority" parade. In particular, he singled out his Afghan partner, Brig.-Gen. Ahmed Habibi for "leading from the front."

Returning the compliment, Habibi praised "the kind heart of General Sahib Milner." He recalled that Milner told him last summer that whatever Afghans most urgently needed would be directly funded by the Canadian military.

"We spent the money wisely," Habibi said. "Schools and roads were our priority."

To much laughter, the Afghan commander added: "Everywhere Sahib Milner went he would shout to kids, 'Nack tab talarsha!' ('Go to school!')"

Milner began his speech by tracing Canada's involvement since Task Force Kandahar was stood up in 2006.

"Just one brigade in strength, successive Canadian task forces demonstrated remarkable flexibility and fortitude," he said. "They operated over large stretches of this province in order to fight the enemy wherever he presented himself."

Lt.-Gen. Marc Lessard, who as the head of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command is responsible for all troops that Ottawa sends overseas, said that "remarkable progress had been achieved in enhancing security and governance." The outgoing commander of CEFCOM would "never have thought this achievable" when he served as commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in the south three years ago.

With Task Force Kandahar trying to cover an area the size of New Brunswick with fewer than 2,000 combat troops, the Taliban enjoyed great freedom of movement for several years which they used to plant thousands of homemade bombs.

A consequence was that ramp ceremonies for fallen Canadians were held here about once every 10 days until coalition and Afghan forces began to dominate the battlefield last year.

Lessard concluded by stating "we held the line from 2005 to 2009" before a surge in U.S. troops changed the dynamic in the coalition's favour.

With as many as 15 times more troops now on duty in Panjwaii than three years ago, the coalition succeeded in pushing the enemy off the battlefield. This allowed Canadian, American and Afghan forces to move in among the local population to ensure their security and to assist them with economic development.

Col. Peter Dawe was the only soldier in attendance Thursday who was in Kandahar when the first members of Lt.-Col. Pat Stogran's Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry arrived 3,468 days ago. That six-month tour was spent hunting for the Taliban and al-Qaida in the mountains near the Pakistan border.

"It was pretty apocalyptic coming up here in a Hercules (aircraft) at night," said Dawe, who now heads Canada's new training mission in Kabul. "The passenger terminal had been shot up and shattered glass was everywhere. It was pretty austere.

"For our country this has meant a great deal. We answered the call when your friends needed us. We did not shy away from the challenge even after the traumatic loss of troops and civilians."

During Canada's long involvement in Afghanistan, four Canadian civilians and 157 soldiers died, including Dawe's younger brother, Matthew. Hundreds more were seriously injured.

Well ahead of a deadline to have all combat troops out of Kandahar by the end of July, about 95 per cent of these forces are already now either at Kandahar Airfield, in Cyprus for four days of compulsory decompression or back home. Canada's last few tanks and armoured reconnaissance vehicles returned two days ago to the airfield, which is the main logistical hub for the war in the south.

That still leaves a few dozen infantrymen from the Quebec-based 1 Royal 22e Regiment in the field for a few more days. These Van Doo are advising the incoming 'Arctic Wolves' from Fort Wainwright, Alaska. A small number of other troops also remain at a base in Kandahar City for a few more days.

A who's who of Kandahar's political and security elite, as well as the top ISAF brass in southern Afghanistan, attended the 70-minute handover ceremony at New Canada House. The exception was Gov. Tooryalai Wesa, an Afghan-Canadian academic, whose unexplained absence prompted the hasty removal of references to him from speeches.

Where Canada had fought in Kandahar "was the decisive terrain," said Terry, the current ISAF commander in the south. The American two-star said that, during his first tour here in 2006, the enemy had tested the Canadians by making Panjwaii District its main focus, but failed when the Canadians "cleared out the insurgents."

Describing the Canadian army as "a superior fighting force," Terry said, "you've got to give them credit for creating the conditions for the U.S. surge."

"Maybe this has been a question of refinding ourselves," said Dawe, who was here in 2002 and is back again today. "We have a proud military history but it has been some time since we have had to pay the price.

"As a Canadian I am extremely proud of what we've done. We are not the biggest kid on the block but we stood up for what is right. We have a military today that is as vibrant as it ever has been in recent history."

Matthew Fisher of Postmedia News is the only Canadian journalist based in Kandahar. He'll be leaving Afghanistan this week after spending more than 900 days there since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, mostly spent with Canadian troops.

Photo Credit: Ottawa Citizen 20110707

* Canadian Brig.-Gen. Dean Milner, seated left, transfers his command to U.S. Army Col. Todd Wood, seated right, ending Canada's combat mission. Between them sits U.S. Maj.-Gen. James Terry, who commands all NATO forces in southeastern Afghanistan. (Photograph by: Sgt. Matt McGregor for Postmedia News)

* A Canadian light armored vehicle drives next to a soldier from Bulldog Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Royal Regiment, walks during a patrol in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province southern Afghanistan June 25, 2011. Canada will end its combat role in Afghanistan by the end of July, after nearly ten years fighting in Afghanistan.

: The Ottawa Citizen 20110707


the inner space said...


Were those just “collateral damage”?

Anonymous said...

>> ... 好像沒有提過加軍誤殺了多少阿富汗平民

You would recall the whole Air Borne was disbanded because of some bad apples who abused the locals and failed their roles and responsibilities during the Somali mission. Those found guilty were also punished.

>> ... 還有對美軍虐待阿富汗平民和塔利班戰俘視若無睹

Yoo will have to ask the US administration.

Frankly, I have higher regard of Canadian soldiers than those of many other countries.

Please also compare the rating on corruptions among countries.


the inner space said...

哈哈哈哈哈!HBB 請不要轉而視線,我們是在談侵略阿富汗的外國軍隊,加軍誤殺了多少阿富汗平民,還有對美軍虐待阿富汗平民和塔利班戰俘視若無睹。暫時不是談入侵阿富汗外國軍隊的貪污情況。

by the way I have seen Mr. Popper's penguins,in the movie Mr.Popper bribed the New York City condo security twice with cash for not seeing those penguins! hahahahahaha!

Haricot 微豆 said...


啊啊! 我的視線沒有轉移,您談的是quote/unquote:『侵略阿富汗的外國軍隊』,我談的是『加拿大的職業軍人』。

或許我需要解釋或強調: 加拿大的職業軍人是不分黨派(non-partisan),他∕她們的責任是要服從上司命令,和遵守職業道德及國家法律,但决定加拿大外交政策(Canada's foreign policy)是現任民選政府(the government-in-power elected democratically by Canadians)擁有的責任和權力。

所以,如果您要轉話題談『.... 侵略阿富汗的外國軍隊,加軍誤殺了多少阿富汗平民,還有對美軍虐待阿富汗平民和塔利班戰俘視若無睹 .....』,我不是不想逢倍,而是要衡量開另一個新「話題擂臺」之後的冒險性。您丶我丶和其他∕她常客可以友善互硏,但如有陌生人上門「踢盤」或「人肉搜索」,那我就覺得一動不如一靜,無謂自找一些沒有意義丶沒有結果的麻煩了。

the inner space said...

HBB,講開就講我就話畀人在我的chatroom聊天室留言,說要“KILL 咗 我” 嚇得我不敢回到聊天室,怕就是給人「人肉搜索」。
網絡欺凌 Cyber Bullying do exist everywhere!

Haricot 微豆 said...


Yes, there are bullies everywhere. It’s important that we assess the risks, take precautions, and hope trouble won’t come knocking on the door.

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