Just over 160 Canadians have been killed in Afghanistan since our military was first committed to go there more than a decade ago, and it ain’t over yet.
Canada’s combat role, based in Kandahar, ended last December. But for another two years or more, this country will have more than 900 troops on the ground as part of the International Security Assistance Force.
Their role is to train and mentor Afghan forces, in co-operation with units from the U.S. and other coalition partners. When Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced this extended commitment it was sold to parliament and the Canadian people as ‘relatively low risk’ compared to the combat phase which took such a heavy toll. But it seems that nothing is ‘low risk’ in that troubled part of the world.
It seems some of the Afghans who are being trained and mentored are Taliban insurgents in disguise. So far a handful of Americans and Australians have been killed, and the numbers could easily rise. The Americans who are by far the largest force in the region are being hit the hardest.
The Canadian military insists that the risk to our people is substantially less. They say the Red Maple Leaf on our uniforms offers some protection because our troops are thought to be less trigger happy in a tight spot. Tell that to the loved ones of our men and women who continue to serve in that hell hole. If I had a son or daughter there it would give me no comfort whatsoever.
As always, our folks on the ground make the best of a dangerous situation, and they make us proud. As with every conflict in the past hundred years, this country punches way way above its weight on the world stage.
One can’t help but feel that there’s almost nothing that will bring lasting peace in Afghanistan, and I wish we could just come home.
I’m Roger Currie
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