Canada's role in the invasion of Afghanistan


Canada's role in the invasion of Afghanistan

Canada did not have a significant role in the first few months of the invasion of Afghanistan that began on October 7, 2001, and the first contingents of regular Canadian troops arrived in Afghanistan only in January–February of 2002. Canada took on a larger role starting in 2006 after the Canadian troops were redeployed to Kandahar province. Roughly 2,500 Canadian Forces personnel are currently deployed in Afghanistan as part of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Background

In September 2001, after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Minister of National Defence Art Eggleton advised Governor General Adrienne Clarkson to authorize more than 100 Canadian Forces members serving on military exchange programs in the United States and other countries to participate in U.S. operations in Afghanistan. The operations were aimed at identifying and neutralizing al-Qaeda members in that country, as well as toppling the Taliban regime, which was claimed to be supporting international terrorism.

At the time of the invasion, the Canadian government defined Canada's reasons for participating in the mission Afghanistan as follows: [ [http://www.canada-afghanistan.gc.ca/menu-en.asp Canadian government website] ]

#Defend Canada's national interests;
#Ensure Canadian leadership in world affairs; and
#Help Afghanistan rebuild.

2001–2002 initial deployment

Although not participating at all in the opening days of the invasion, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced on October 7 that Canada would contribute forces to the international force being formed to conduct a campaign against terrorism. General Ray Henault, the Chief of the Defence Staff, issued preliminary orders to several CF units, as Operation Apollo was established. The Canadian commitment was originally planned to last to October 2003.

Forty Joint Task Force Two (JTF2) operators were sent to Afghanistan in December 2001, two months after then Minister of Defence, Art Eggleton, announced that Canada would be sending troops to Afghanistan to aid the removal of the Taliban. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Task_Force_2#Afghanistan:_2001.E2.80.93present]

Once the regular forces were on the ground in January–February 2002 the Canadians were used supporting the war effort until Operation Anaconda began. During the operation, a Canadian sniper team broke, and re-broke, the kill record for a long distance sniper kill set in the Vietnam War by a U.S. Marine, Staff Sergeant Carlos Hathcock. Operation Anaconda was also the first time since the Korean War that Canadian soldiers relieved American soldiers in a combat operation.

2002–2005

In March 2002, three Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry snipers fought alongside U.S. Army units during Operation Anaconda. Canadian forces also undertook Operation Harpoon in the Shah-i-Kot Valley. Other forces in the country provided garrison and security troops.

On April 18, 2002, a friendly fire incident caused Canadian casualties when an American F-16 jet dropped a laser-guided bomb on a group of Canadian soldiers. The PPCLI soldiers were conducting night-time training on a designated live-fire range, and the American pilots claim they mistook their gunfire for a Taliban insurgent attack. Four Canadians were killed and eight were wounded in the bombing (see Tarnak Farm incident).

In 2003, the Canadian Forces moved to the northern city of Kabul where it became the commanding nation of the newly formed International Security Assistance Force. In spring 2005 it was announced that the Canadian Forces would move back to the volatile Kandahar Province as the U.S. forces handed command to the Canadians in the region.

2003–2005 Operation Athena

In August 2003, Operation Athena began outside Kabul as part of ISAF, with a 1,900-strong Canadian task force providing assistance to civilian infrastructure such as well-digging and repair of local buildings.

In March 2004, Canada committed $250 million in aid to Afghanistan, and $5 million to support the 2004 Afghan election. [ [http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/cida_ind.nsf/0/505CB13EFB34A14585256E68006177C9?OpenDocument acdi-cida website] ]

On 13 February 2005, Defence Minister Bill Graham announced Canada was doubling the number of troops in Afghanistan by the coming summer, from 600 troops in Kabul to 1200. [ [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1108317447589_3/?hub=Canada CTV news.] ]

Operation Athena ended in December 2005 and the fulfilment of the stated aim of "rebuilding the democratic process" in Afghanistan. [http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/afghanistan/canada.html CBC News.] ]

2006 renewed commitments: Operation Archer

Operation Archer followed Athena beginning in February 2006. By the spring of 2006, Canada had a major role in southern Afghanistan, with Task Force Afghanistan being a battle group of 2,300 soldiers based at Kandahar. Canada also commanded the Multi-National Brigade for Command South, a main military force in the region. In May 2006, the Canadian government extended Canadian military commitments to Afghanistan by two years, replacing earlier plans to withdraw soldiers in 2006.

Additionally, Foreign Affairs Canada stated that the commitment was more than just military, employing a "whole of government approach", in which a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), utilizing personnel from the military, Foreign Affairs, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, would provide a dual role of security as well as reconstruction of the country and political structure.

On 28 February 2006, command of the forces in southern Afghanistan transferred from U.S. Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry to Canadian Brigadier-General David Fraser in a ceremony at Kandahar Airfield.

2006–present

When the Canadian Forces returned to Kandahar after being deployed to Kabul in 2003, the Taliban began a major offensive, and the Canadians were caught in the middle. After a spring in which a record number of attacks against Canadian soldiers had been set, which included six deaths to the CF, the Taliban in Kandahar and Helmand provinces were massing.

Operation Mountain Thrust was launched in the beginning of the summer in 2006. Canadians of the 2 PPCLI Battle Group were one of the leading combatants and the first fighting when the Battle of Panjwaii took place. Complex mud-walled compounds made the rural Panjwaii District take on an almost urban style of fighting in some places. Daily firefights, artillery bombardments, and allied airstrikes turned the tides of the battle in favour of the Canadians. After Operation Mountain Thrust came to an end, Taliban fighters flooded back into the Panjwaii District in numbers that had not been seen yet in a single area in the "post Anaconda" war.

The Canadian Forces came under NATO command at the end of July, and the 1 RCR Battle Group replaced the PPCLI. Canadians launched Operation Medusa in September in an attempt to clear the areas of Taliban fighters from Panjwaii once and for all. The fighting of Operation Medusa led the way to the second, and most fierce Battle of Panjwaii in which daily gun-battles, ambushes, and mortar and rocket attacks were targeting the Canadian troops. The Taliban had massed with an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 fighters. The Taliban were reluctant to give up the area, and after being surrounded by the Canadian Forces, they dug in and fought a more conventional style battle. After weeks of fighting, the Taliban had been cleared from the Panjwaii area and Canadian reconstruction efforts in the area began.

On 15 September, 2006, the Canadian government committed a squadron of Leopard tanks from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), and an additional 200 to 500 troops to Afghanistan. Canada was the first nation to deploy armour to Afghanistan. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/09/15/tanks-afghanistan.html More soldiers, tanks necessary to fight Taliban: Ottawa ] ]

On 1 November 2006, Dutch Major-General Ton van Loon succeeded Brigadier-General David Fraser as head of NATO Regional Command South in Afghanistan, a post which he will retain for a six month period. [http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/lf/English/6_1_1.asp?id=1275]

On 15 December 2006, the Canadians launched Operation Falcon Summit into
Zhari District, to the north of Panjwaii. The operation was the Canadian involvement in the NATO-led Operation Mountain Fury. During Operation Falcon Summit, the Canadians gained control of several key villages and towns that were former Taliban havens, such as Howz-E Madad. During the first week of the operation, massive Canadian artillery and tank barrages were carried out in a successful attempt to clear pockets of Taliban resistance. The operation concluded with plans to build a new road linking Panjwaii with Kandahar's Highway 1 that runs east-west through Zhari.

In February 2007, the 2 RCR Battle Group took over to carry on with combat operations in several districts in Kandahar Province.

From 15 July 2007 to February 2008, units from CFB Valcartier near Quebec City served in Kandahar filling most positions in the OMLT and providing the protective company for the PRT. The 3rd Battalion Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group, with supporting troops from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and a composite tank squadron from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) conducted operations on the ground. This rotation reflected a change in Canadian tactics, with emphasis on systematically clearing-holding-building in the districts of Panjwaii and Zhari, while also protecting Arghandab District and the Afghan–Pakistan border in the area of Spin Boldak. The focus was on intimately working with the Afghan army, police and civil administration to hold cleared areas rather than subsequently lose them to returning Taliban, as had previously occurred throughout the South and East.

In February 2008, the Van Doos contingent was replaced by force centred on a PPCLI battle group.

On 29 January 2008, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada will extend its military mission in Afghanistan to 2011, only if another NATO country puts more than 1,000 soldiers in the dangerous southern province of Kandahar. The extension was approved in a parliamentary vote, supported by the Liberal opposition, but not by the other members of the opposition, on March 13, 2008. This is due to the European allies' refusal to deploy to Afghanistan's dangerous south and east, this has opened a rift with Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark and others which, along with the United States, have borne the brunt of Taliban violence. [ [http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-01-28-canada-afghanistan_N.htm?csp=34 Canada wants NATO help in Afghanistan—USATODAY.com ] ]

Opposition to war

Although the leaders of Canada's two largest political parties agree on the necessity of the mission to Afghanistan, it is politically controversial with the Canadian public, with the three other main political parties, with activist groups, and within the Liberal party. On August 31 2006, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton called for the withdrawal of Canadian troops from the south of Afghanistan, to begin immediately and soon afterwards pursue peace negotiations with the Taliban insurgents. He argued that the mission lacked clear objectives and measures of success, and that the counter-insurgency operation was undermining reconstruction in Afghanistan. [ [http://www.ndp.ca/page/4119 NDP website] ]

Members of Canada's Muslim community, which comprises 2% of Canadians, are divided by the issue of the mission to Afghanistan. Muslim Members of Parliament Rahim Jaffer and Wajid Khan, both of the Conservative party, are for it.

Current Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper's support of the Afghanistan mission has been repeatedly criticized by other political players. In September 2006, CBC columnist [http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/vp_zolf/20060925.html Larry Zolf] discussed the oft-repeated accusation that Harper is a "puppet" of Bush:

"Linking Harper to Bush has been a staple of the NDP and the left of the Liberal party since the Harper mission in Afghanistan started. Harper's defence of his war in Afghanistan is that he's not a prisoner of Bush but is simply carrying on a mission started by the Liberals. And he's right. Still, the charge that Harper is a Bush puppet is sticking, and it's hurting Harper as both he and Bush are dropping in the polls. Afghanistan is not only stopping Harper's quest for a majority government—it could even cost him the next election."

On October 28, 2006, anti-war groups from across Canada organized rallies in 40 cities and towns. Themes of the demonstrations included demands that the troops be brought home from Afghanistan and demands that the mission of the Canadian Forces in that country shift from a combat role to a peace keeping and humanitarian presence. Participation varied from city to city, ranging from several dozen to several thousand.

While the Liberals now support the Conservative-proposed extension of the mission to 2011, the New Democratic Party would make an immediate announcement of the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan, with the specific timing and speed of the actual withdrawal as deemed responsible by military commanders, whether within a few weeks or a couple of months. An October 9, 2008 NDP release [ [http://www.ndp.ca/page/7246 New Democrats demand Harper explain cost of war] ] stated:

"Jack Layton and the NDP want to bring our troops home from Afghanistan in six months, instead of spending $18.1 billion dollars on this war for three more years. Rather than spending this money on war, the NDP will invest in hiring more doctors and more skilled jobs training here in Canada."

The Green Party and the Bloc Québécois also oppose any extension beyond the previous 2009 withdrawal date.

Canadian public opinion

: See also: "International public opinion on the War in Afghanistan (2001-present)

2008

*September 2008: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 61% of Canadians oppose sending troops to Afghanistan, while only a minority 35% support it. Forming the largest group of respondents, 33% of Canadians "strongly oppose" sending troops to Afghanistan. These numbers show the highest level of opposition and the lowest level of support in the 12 times that Strategic Counsel has asked Canadians this question since May 2006. [ [http://www.thestrategiccounsel.com/our_news/polls/Pre-Election%20Baseline%20-%20Sep%201%20(with%20second%20choice).pdf Poll results September 2008, p. 32] ]
*September 2008: Angus Reid poll: The majority of Canadians continue to oppose an extension past February 2009 of Canada's military mission in Afghanistan. 59% of Canadians disagree with their government's proposed extension of the mission past February 2009, while only a minority 34% agree with it. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/31745/one_third_of_canadians_back_afghan_mission/ Only a third of Canadians agree with Afghanistan mission extension] ] The vast majority of Canadians, 75%, continue to believe that Canada is shouldering too much of the burden on NATO's mission in Afghanistan, while only a small minority 14% disagree with that view. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/uppdf/2009.09.11_Afghan.pdf Only a third of Canadians agree with Afghanistan mission extension—PDF] ]
*September 2008: Environics poll: The number of Canadians who disapprove of their country's military action in Afghanistan is at its highest point since Canada became involved in the war in 2002. The majority 56% of Canadians disapprove of their country's military action in Afghanistan, while only a minority 41% approve of it. Almost two-thirds of Canadians, 65%, say the mission is not likely to be successful, while only 28% think it is likely to be successful. The majority 54% of Canadians disagree with an extension of the mission past February 2009, while a minority 41% agree with it. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/09/05/poll-afghan.html Public support for Afghan mission lowest ever: poll] ] [ [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5ihXNyozGL2fV4MUSG6ZCFUCjh-EQ Canadian soldier killed, seven injured in Afghanistan] ]
*August 2008: Harris Decima poll: The majority of Canadians believe their country is paying too high a price in blood and treasure for its military involvement in Afghanistan and do not want to stay longer in Afghanistan. 61% of Canadians believe the cost of the military mission in lives and money is unacceptable, while only 32% think it is acceptable. The majority 57% of Canadians do not want to stay longer in Afghanistan, while only a minority 33% agree with an extension. [ [http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5jNhOrJWoOaUOR61vK5BuGhMEJpZA Almost two-thirds of Canadians say Afghan mission too costly, poll suggests] ]
*July 2008: Angus Reid poll: The majority of Canadians believe their government was wrong to lengthen their country’s military mission in Afghanistan. 58% of Canadians disagree with their government's proposed extension of the mission past February 2009, while only a minority 36% agree with it. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/31183/more_canadians_oppose_afghanistan_extension More Canadians Oppose Afghanistan Extension] ]
*July 2008: Ipsos Reid poll: Only a minority 29% of Canadians are "fairly content" about Canada's participation in the war in Afghanistan. The remaining 71% of Canadians are either "really upset", "really angry", or "resigned" about Canada's participation in the war. The plurality, 37% of Canadians, are "really upset but not able to do anything about it, so I keep it bottled up until I can"; 29% are "fairly content because it/they really don’t affect or matter that much to me"; 24% are "resigned pretty much not to do anything since there’s no sense making any noise because nothing ever happens as a result"; and 10% are "really angry and I’m for sure going to/already doing something about it". [ [http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=4020 Pent Up Or Fed Up?] ]
*May 2008: Angus Reid poll: The majority of Canadians believe their government was wrong to lengthen their country’s military mission in Afghanistan. 54% of Canadians disagree with their government's proposed extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a minority 41% agree with it. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/31183/more_canadians_oppose_afghanistan_extension More Canadians Oppose Afghanistan Extension] ]
*March 2008: Environics poll: The majority 54% of Canadians disapprove of their country's military action in Afghanistan, while only a minority 44% approve of it. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/09/05/poll-afghan.html Public support for Afghan mission lowest ever: poll] ]
*March 2008: Angus Reid poll: The majority of Canadians believe their government was wrong to lengthen their country’s military mission in Afghanistan. 58% of Canadians disagree with their government's proposed extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a minority 37% agree with it. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/31183/more_canadians_oppose_afghanistan_extension More Canadians Oppose Afghanistan Extension] ]
*February 2008: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 61% of Canadians oppose an extension past February 2009, while only a minority 35% support one. [ [http://www.thestrategiccounsel.com/our_news/polls/2008-02-19%20GMCTV%20Feb%2020%20Final%202%20Pub.pdf Poll results February 2008] ]
*February 2008: Angus Reid poll: The majority 58% of Canadians disagree with an extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a minority 36% agree with it. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/29855/canadians_reject_extending_afghan_mission1 Canadians Reject Extending Afghan Mission] ]
*January 2008: Ipsos Reid poll: Only a minority 35% of Canadians approve of the so-called Manley Panel's recommendations for Canada's troops in Afghanistan. Ipsos Reid characterizes this result as "Canadians Receive Manley Plan Cautiously". [ [http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=3795 Country Still Split On Mission] ]
*January 2008: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 56% of Canadians oppose sending troops to Afghanistan, while only a minority 39% support. The overwhelming majority 78% of Canadians think the combat role should end, while only a small minority 17% think the combat role should continue. The plurality 47% of Canadians want the troops to return as soon as possible. [ [http://www.thestrategiccounsel.com/our%5Fnews/polls/2008-01-14%20GMCTV%20Jan%2010-131.pdf Poll results January 2008] ]

2007

*December 2007: Angus Reid poll: The majority 61% of Canadians disagree with an extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a minority 28% agree with it. The majority 53% of Canadians want an early withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan even before February 2009, while only 39% disagree. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/29855/canadians_reject_extending_afghan_mission1 Canadians Reject Extending Afghan Mission] ]
*October 2007: Environics poll: Fewer than half, 45%, of Canadians support the current mission, a plurality 43% of Canadians want Canadian troops to be brought home even before the mission is scheduled to end in February 2009, and only one in three think that the mission is likely to be successful in the end. [ [http://erg.environics.net/media_room/default.asp?aID=653 Environics' Focus Canada survey numbers (from September-October)] ]
*October 2007: Ipsos Reid poll: Only a small minority 14% believe Canada should continue in its current role, while 40% believe Canada should switch to a training capacity, and the plurality 44% of respondents believe troops should be brought home in 2009. The remaining 2% of respondents said they did not know. Ipsos Reid, the only polling firm with results markedly different from those of all the other polls around the same time, took these results and combined the first two figures to suggest that a majority 54% of Canadians want Canada to stay in Afghanistan, while 44% do not. They chose not to, however, combine the last two figures in exactly the same way to show that an overwhelming 84% majority of Canadians believe Canada should not continue in its current role, while only a small minority 14% do. [ [http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=0d6f405d-915f-46cd-bd90-4ca686a9c8bc Canadians split on Afghan mission, poll shows] ] A report from a senior defence analyst with the Conference of Defence Associations reveals that the firm Ipsos Reid was under contract from the Canadian Department of National Defense over the period from September 19-21, 2006 to March 20-22, 2007. [ [http://www.cda-cdai.ca/CDA_Commentary/9-2007%20-%20Afghanistan%20and%20the%20Polls.pdf Conference of Defence Associations Commentary 9—2007] ] The Conference of Defence Associations itself had a five-year funding agreement with the Department of National Defence, effective from April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2012. [ [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080516.MILITARY16//TPStory/Front Think tank's funding tied to getting good press] ] [ [http://ceasefireinsider.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/the-conference-of-defence-associations-contract-with-the-department-of-national-defence/ The Conference of Defence Associations’ secret contract with the Department of National Defence] ] [ [http://ceasefireinsider.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/p-39-cda-2008-05-131.pdf Five-Year Grant Agreement between the Canadian Department of National Defence and the Conference of Defence Associations] ]
*September 2007: Angus Reid poll: Over two-thirds of Canadians do not want Canada to extend the Afghan mission past its scheduled end date in February 2009. The majority 68% of Canadians disagree with an extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a minority 20% agree with one. The majority 56% of Canadians also think that Canada should leave Afghanistan early, even before the mandate ends in February 2009, while only 35% disagreed. Two-thirds, 67%, of Canadians also believe Canada is shouldering too much of the burden of NATO's mission in Afghanistan. [ [http://angusreidstrategies.com/uploads/pages/pdfs/2007.09.19%20Afghanistan%20Press%20Release.pdf Canadians think Afghans are benefitting but troops should come home soon] ]
*August 2007: Angus Reid poll: Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians, 49%, think the NATO mission in Afghanistan has been mostly a failure. Only 22% of Canadians think it has been mostly a success. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/uppdf/Afghanistan_Global.pdf Western Europe, Canada see Afghanistan mission as a failure] ]
*August 2007: Ipsos Reid poll: In a statistical tie within the poll's 3.1% margin of error, 51% of Canadians support the mission while 45% oppose it. [ [http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=0d6f405d-915f-46cd-bd90-4ca686a9c8bc Canadians split on Afghan mission, poll shows] ]
*July 2007: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 59% of Canadians oppose sending troops to Afghanistan, while only a minority 36% support. [ [http://www.thestrategiccounsel.com/our%5Fnews/polls/2008-01-14%20GMCTV%20Jan%2010-131.pdf Poll results January 2008 and earlier] ] [ [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/print/CTVNews/20070718/afghanistan_poll_070718/20070718/?hub=QPeriod&subhub=PrintStory Most Canadians oppose Afghanistan mission: poll] ]
*July 2007: Decima Research poll: The majority 67% of Canadians believe the number of casualties have been unacceptable, while only 25% said the number of killed and wounded was acceptable. At the time of the poll, Canada had lost 66 soldiers and one diplomat in Afghanistan. [ [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070712.wafgpoll0712/BNStory/Afghanistan/home Support for Afghan intervention waning: poll] ]
*July 2007: Angus Reid poll: The majority 63% of Canadians disagree with an extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a small minority 16% agree with it. A plurality 49% of Canadians think their country should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan even before their mandate ends in February 2009. The majority 58% think Canada is shouldering too much of the burden. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/29855/canadians_reject_extending_afghan_mission1 Canadians Reject Extending Afghan Mission] ] [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/16524 Few Canadians Want Afghan Mission Extended] ]
*July 2007: Ipsos Reid poll: In a statistical tie within the poll's 3.1% margin of error, 50% of Canadians support the mission while 45% oppose it. [ [http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=3569 Half (50%) Of Canadians Support Canada’s Role In Afghanistan] ]
*June 2007: Decima Research poll: The majority two-thirds 67% of Canadians want the military mission in Afghanistan to end in Feb. 2009, while only a small minority 26% think it should be extended past Feb. 2009. [ [http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20070611_165552_9828 Get troops out of Afghanistan in 2009: poll] ] [ [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070611.wafghpoll0611/BNStory/National/home Vast majority wants Afghan mission to end on schedule: poll] ]
*May 2007: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 55% of Canadians oppose the military mission in Afghanistan, while a minority 40% support it. Only 6% say they strongly support it, while 4 times as many, 24% say they strongly oppose it. There was almost two-to-one support for negotiation with Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents. A majority 63% of Canadians think that it is a net good idea to negotiate with Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents, while only a minority of 32% think it is a net bad idea. [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070520/afghan_poll_070520/20070520/ Canadians support talks with Taliban: poll] ]
*May 2007: Angus Reid poll: 50% of Canadians think Canada should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan before their mandate ends in February 2009. The majority 55% think Canada is shouldering too much of the burden. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/16524 Few Canadians Want Afghan Mission Extended] ]
*May 2007: SES Research poll: The majority two-thirds of Canadians think their country's presence in Afghanistan makes Canada more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. The majority 55% said Canada should pull out of Afghanistan if casualties continue, while 39% said casualties are an unfortunate but necessary part of the military. At the time of the poll, Canada had lost 54 soldiers and one diplomat to violence in Afghanistan. [ [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/print/CTVNews/20070506/afghan_poll_070506/20070506/?hub=SEAfghanistan&subhub=PrintStory Poll suggests most concerned about Afghanistan] ]
*April 2007: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 57% of Canadians oppose the military mission in Afghanistan, while a minority 36% support it.
*April 2007: Ipsos Reid poll: Almost two-thirds of Canadians say the country's troops should be brought home from Afghanistan on schedule in February 2009. The majority 63% of Canadians want the troops brougth home on schedule by February 2009. [ [http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=dab80e0e-8f01-4591-80b3-b129798714d4&k=4377 Canadians want the troops home from Afghanistan on time, poll says] ]
*April 2007: Angus Reid poll: The majority 52% of Canadians think Canada should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan before their mandate ends in February 2009. The majority 64% think Canada is shouldering too much of the burden. [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/16524 Few Canadians Want Afghan Mission Extended] ]

Bravery awards

In December 2003, PPCLI snipers Master Corporal Graham Ragsdale, Master Corporal Tim McMeekin, Corporal Dennis Eason, Corporal Rob Furlong and Master Corporal Arron Perry were awarded the Bronze Star by the U.S. Army for their actions in combat during Operation Anaconda, March 2–11, 2002.

On October 27, 2006, Sergeant Patrick Tower of the PPCLI became the first ever recipient of the Canadian Star of Military Valour. It came as a result of actions on August 3, 2006, where he assumed command of his platoon under fire, and escorted them to safety.

Sergeant Michael Thomas Victor Denine, PPCLI, was awarded the Medal of Military Valour for his actions as part of Operation Archer. On May 17 2006, though under intense rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun and small arms fire, Sergeant Denine exited a light armoured vehicle and manned the pintle-mounted machine gun. In spite of being completely exposed to enemy fire, Sergeant Denine laid down such a volume of suppressive fire that he forced the enemy to withdraw.

On May 24 2006, while under intense enemy fire, Master Corporal Collin Ryan Fitzgerald, PPCLI, entered and re-entered a burning platoon vehicle, driving it off the roadway and allowing the other vehicles trapped in the enemy's kill zone to break free, for which he was awarded the Medal of Military Valour.

On July 13, during Operation Archer Private Jason Lamont, PPCLI, ran across open ground through concentrated enemy fire in order to deliver first aid to a wounded comrade, for which he was also awarded the Medal of Military Valour .

Major William Hilton Fletcher, PPCLI, received the Star of Military Valour [Government House, " [http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partI/2007/20070224/html/house-e.html Military Valour Decorations] ," Canada Gazette, 24 Feb 2007, URL accessed 26 Mar 2008.] . He was recognized for demonstrating extraordinary bravery during his service in Afghanistan from January to August 2006. He repeatedly exposed himself to intense fire while leading C Company, 1 PPCLI Battle Group, on foot, to assault heavily defended enemy positions.

Captain Derek Prohar, PPCLI, received the Medal of Military Valour. Assigned as liaison officer with the U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan during the battle at Sperwan Ghar, from September 5 to 12, 2006, Captain Prohar operated as the rear machine gunner on the battalion commander's vehicle. He was wounded by an improvised explosive device during an intense enemy ambush. Despite his injuries, he continued returning fire and assisted the commander with the control of the attack, which resulted in the successful seizing of key terrain.

Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant Chris Hasler, a Canadian, was invested with the Distinguished Flying Cross personally by Queen Elizabeth II on 23 May 2007 for flying resupply missions under fire in Chinook helicopters in Afghanistan in 2006. He is the first Canadian to be decorated for bravery in the air since the Korean War. [CBC news, The Journal, 23 May 2007 also [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070523/helicopter_pilot_070523/20070523?hub=TopStories CTV news story] ]

At the end of 2006, every Canadian soldier was selected by the Canadian Press as the Canadian Newsmaker of the Year due to the war in Afghanistan. [Bill Graveland, " [http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=89221218-cb88-4d7a-a0db-069d6983e8b8 Canadian Soldier chosen as Newsmaker of 2006] ," Canadian Press, December 25, 2006, URL accessed 2 January 2007.]

Other missions

*Canada has assisted in the collection, storage and decommissioning of 10,000 heavy weapons left in Afghanistan including artillery, tanks and rocket launchers, used in decades of conflict in the country. [http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/afghanistan/canada.html CBC News.] ]
*Canada has helped clear about one third of the estimated 10 to 15 million mines in Afghanistan. [http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/afghanistan/canada.html CBC News.] ]
*Canada has loaned money to over 140,000 people in Afghanistan. [http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/afghanistan/canada.html CBC News.] ]
*Canada has helped train the Afghan police and army. [http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/afghanistan/canada.html CBC News.] ] [http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/War_Terror/2007/03/17/3770116-cp.html Canoe news article about Canadian training of Afghan forces] ]

Fatalities

The Canadian forces have suffered 97 reported fatalities involving its soldiers in Afghanistan and in support of the mission, as of Sunday September 7, 2008. One senior Foreign Affairs official and three Canadian civilians have also been killed in Afghanistan due to hostile circumstances. Canada has suffered the third highest number of combat casualties of any nation in the Allied Force. [ [http://www.icasualties.org/oef/ Coalition Military Fatalities as of April 4, 2008] ]

Canadian non-military deaths in Afghanistan

Bases

*Camp Julien in Kabul
*Camp Mirage airbase
*Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar

Diplomatic ties

On January 25, 2002, Canada officially re-established diplomatic relations with Afghanistan. This was followed by the opening of Canada's embassy in Kabul in September 2003. Canada's current serving representative is Ambassador Arif Z. Lalani.

Records

Corporal Rob Furlong, PPCLI, (Operation Anaconda, Afghanistan) holds the record for the longest recorded and confirmed sniper kill at 2,430 metres (1.51 miles) using a .50 calibre (12.7 mm) McMillan TAC-50 rifle. [5]

References

ee also

*War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
*Canadian Forces casualties in Afghanistan
*Civilian casualties of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
*Afghanistan War order of battle
*Britain's role in the 2001-present Afghan war
*International Security Assistance Force
*Operation Altair
*Operation Apollo
*Operation Archer
*Operation Athena
*Operation Medusa
*Provincial Reconstruction Team
*Afghanada

External links

* [http://www.mapleleafweb.com/features/canada-afghanistan-military-and-development-activities Canada in Afghanistan: Military & Development Roles | Mapleleafweb.com]
* [http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/afghanistan/menu-en.aspx Rebuilding Afghanistan]
* [http://www.sfu.ca/casr/index.htm Canadian American Strategic Review]
* [http://www.pom.peacebuild.ca/ Peace Operations Monitor- Afghanistan]
* [http://milnewstbay.pbwiki.com/CANinKandahar MILNEWS.ca Canada in Kandahar News Page] , [http://milnewstbay.pbwiki.com/CANinKandahar-Bkgnd MILNEWS.ca Background Information]


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