Mark Collins – Winding Down and Wrapping Up Canadian Forces’ Afghan Missions

Excerpts from a very useful piece by Matthew Fisher, who knows more about our Afghan missions (most people forget there have been several distinct ones) than any other Canadian journalist (a video interview from 2011 here):

Most Canadian troops home from Afghanistan within weeks but some equipment still stuck in Kandahar

All but about 100 of the 600 Canadian military trainers still in Afghanistan will be out of the country within weeks and the rest will be gone by mid-March, beating by several weeks a deadline imposed by the federal government nearly three years ago [forOperation ATTENTION].

However, it is proving a lot tougher for the Canadian Forces to remove some of the staggering amount of military gear that it accumulated in Afghanistan as close to 40,000 troops rotated through there over the past 12 years…

During Canada’s years in Afghanistan 158 soldiers were killed there. The mission began with a small combat deployment to Kandahar in early 2002, switched [after a year’s absence from the country] to a larger, mostly peacekeeping role in Kabul from 2003 to 2005 and returned to Kandahar with a large task force for combat operations between 2006 and 2011 when the Canadians transitioned to a training role mostly in Kabul but also in Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif.

Plus at

  • Afghanistan  CF General to the last troops left in country  “We are fast approaching March 2014, when our military engagement in Afghanistan will end. Yours will be the last rotation of the Canadian Armed Forces deployment to Afghanistan on a mission that has lasted more than 12 years.  Like those who deployed before you, you have all done tremendous work.  In October, 268 CAF members returned home because their job was done. The Afghans they worked with demonstrated the capability to lead and conduct training on their own.  Another 360 of you will return home between December and early-January as part of the second phase of the Rotation 3 redeployment.  The remainder will follow in the months thereafter.  Be proud of what you have accomplished in these last months ….”

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

2 thoughts on “Mark Collins – Winding Down and Wrapping Up Canadian Forces’ Afghan Missions”

  1. A story by Matthew Fisher:

    ‘History is full of gruff army generals. Nevertheless, there are always a few exceptions who prefer to keep things light and bright rather than scream.

    Maj.-Gen. Dean Milner, who runs all NATO training for Afghan security forces,
    [ ]
    is one of them. But the affable tanker — who led Canada’s last combat mission in Kandahar in 2010-11 — became incandescent when I asked him recently whether Afghans were worse off now than before Canadian troops first set foot here in the spring of 2002.

    “How can you say it’s worse? Milner shouted, the colour literally rising in his cheeks and neck after he referred to articles that appeared in Canada this fall that made this assertion. “They’re not right. I totally counter that,” he said…

    “The Taliban have not had any gains. It has not been able to be successful in any way.”

    Although there were still attacks from time to time, the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police controlled the highways, he said. Providing a quick security snapshot, he said fighting continued around Jalalabad in northeastern Afghanistan and in parts of Helmand province. The north was generally quiet, although it had always been that way.

    “And look at Kabul. We had one attack in 120 days,” he said.

    There was still “a tiny bit of fighting in Kandahar,”…’

    Mark Collins


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