Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Afghanistan How Our Mission Changed

Those who say our current military mission in Afghanistan is the same 'old misson' prior to December 2005 are guilty of using misdirection to put it politely. Otherwise given their deliberate obfustication of the issue we can consider them liars.

According to Richards, NATO staff asked for a reserve force of 1,000 soldiers more than a year ago. "That reserve ... is nothing more than nations knew was the military advice that was required for 18 months now, endorsed by the NATO chain of command," Richards told the newspaper" That requirement has never been met by nations. The bit it lacked was a hard-hitting reserve of about 1,000 people that I can use wherever I need to use it throughout Afghanistan, although obviously its focus would be the south."

As I wrote here the NATO reinforcement needs were known to the Canadian government prior to and after last years election.
The fact is that in February under the Harper government our mission changed from security operations in Kabul to war making in the Pashtun dominated south.

PRTs are not peacekeeping missions: they exist to extend central government influence throughout a nearly post - apocalyptic feudal land. The goal is to combat insurgency using a variety of lethal and non-lethal tools.

Our mission in Afghanistan had "Officially" ended in December of 2005. In February using parliamentary perogative, the Harper government committed our armed forces to a NEW mission. A NEW mission folks. Not a mere continuation of our previous mission.

Operation Athena

In August 2003, Operation Athena began in 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.[2]

On February 13, 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.[3]

Operation Athena ended following the national elections in December 2005 and the fulfilment of the stated aim of "rebuilding the democratic process" in Afghanistan.

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.

We were considered part of the Americans Operation Enduring Freedom in transition to NATO's take over. When NATO took over OEF in August our troops were part of the ISAF.

But since no other NATO nation is committing troops, our open ended commitment to provide military support till 2009, made by the Harper government, means we will take up the slack. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Citing unnamed sources within NATO and in Kabul, the The Times reported that so far only the tiny Baltic state of Latvia has committed 20 more troops.

Major NATO members Turkey, Germany, Spain and Italy have all basically ruled out volunteering troops and France is unlikely to make any contributions, especially given its large role in the peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

"No one has come forward" with contributions for the NATO force, which took over from the US-led coalition in southern Afghanistan on July 31, the newspaper quoted a NATO source as saying.

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Lord Kitchener's Own said...

The mission is to drive the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan, and keep them out until the democratically elected government of Afghanistan can keep them out on their own, while doing what we can to support re-construction and help the government establish itself.

It's not a "change of mission" every time a new operation begins in support of the mission.

D-day was not a "new mission".

Operation Market Garden was not a "new mission".

We've had troops in Afghanistan since the beginning, and their mission of defeating the Taliban, and keeping them under control, while working to help the new government establish itself, until the new government is capable of defending itself, has never changed.

If we want to abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban, then fine. But if not, I don't think we need a national referendum every time the Taliban decides to step up their attacks, and we have to engage them.

The same people who complained that Karzai's government was a joke, because only Kabul was secure from the Taliban, are now complaining that we're trying to secure the rest of the country. The same people who said "the mission" was a failure because Karzai was just "mayor of Kabul", now complain that "the mission" has changed, because we've moved out of Kabul. Which is it? Was the mission a failure when we hadn't secured the whole country, or has the mission changed because we're trying to secure the whole country???

I'm getting sick of people claiming that every change in tactic, and every re-deployment of troops in response to the situation on the ground is a change in mission. The mission is to take out the Taliban, deny al Qaeda their main safe haven and training grounds, and help establish a democratically elected government in Afghanistan. It was never to fight in one specific are of the country, doing one specific job, and then walk away as soon as our terms up. If that's what you want Canadian foreign policy to be, then fine. But we might just as well stop having any dealings whatsoever with the rest of the world. We could just as easily taken out the Taliban and then abandoned the people to their own devices. Personally, I'm in the "you break it, you buy it" school of foreign policy. We have a responsibility to the people of Afghanistan, and I don't feel like abandoning them just yet, simply because people don't like our military killing people under Harper, as they killed people under Chretien and Martin.

Listing each individual operation we've engaged in in support of our mission in Afghanistan is cute. However, suggesting that each new operation is a change in mission is either a bald-faced lie, or a stunning misunderstanding of how individual militray operations in support of a broader mission work.

eugene plawiuk said...

The Mission ended last December. A NEW mission was begun in February. The issue here is that the mission changed. The liars are those who confuse the missions.
Harper said he would do things differently from the Liberals. Unfortunately given an opportunity to do that with our military operations in Afghanistan he did what the Liberals did, approve a new mission for our troops there without consulting Parliament and Canadians.

I was opposed to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. That being said if you would bother to read the UN Security council resolution on Afghanistan it does not declare total war on the Taliban it says war will cease upon them giving up Usama bin Laden.

The Pashtuns in the provinces in this area of Afghanistan and Pakistan are not ALL Taliban, however as is their tradition they welcome guests and will not give them up. They also hate foreigners, which is why they fought the British, Russians, etc.

Given that they will not give up bin Laden and they will fight us to the death.

The only solution then is total war, if you have the guts for it. The Russians realized this and abandoned Afghanistan to the warlords.

Otherwise you have to negotiate with the Pashtuns and the Taliban something that Pakistan IS doing and the British are supporting.

DazzlinDino said...

Jesus man, it's not like in December we pulled all our troops out, brought them home, and then sent them back again.

The left keeps spouting off about history, well feel free to quote Neville Chamberlain on how talks with the Nazis will work, all the while Winston Churchhill was shaking his head warning the world what was to come. How about the Bay of Pigs?

OK, so you negotiate with the taliban, what will you offer them? A negotiation requires give and take, so are you then prepared to GIVE the taliban free reign on Afghanistan, which is what would happen. Shoot any chance of human rights out the window then.

Of course don't forget after they have Afghanistan to do with what they wish, they can then force people into commission, train them up, and send them on over.

Then come the talks with Canada over how much of OUR country we are willing to give them to get them to stop, then the whole process starts all over.

eugene plawiuk said...

Dazzlin Dino you like all your pals are out to lunch. Enough with the appeasement crap from WWII don't forget that the American isolationists opposed that War. Many right wing Catholics organized opposition to the War on the America First ticket. That the Duke of Windsor was pals with Hitler...etc ect.
American companies benefited from slave labour in Germany. etc etc.

That the right viewed the Nazi's as a possible frontline in the fight against those nasty commies. Sound familiar.

And oh yeah while we are at it the opposition inside Germany never was supported by the Allies, in particular Britain who decided on Total War against Germany. Liquidating the resistance inside the country.

Bay of Pigs well thanks for that one the CIA had run covert operations all through out Central, Latin America and the Caribean based on the Munroe doctrine, coups in Guatemala Iran etc.
All part of the cold war. Again a fascist or military junta is better than damn reds. Your talking to the wrong guy.

Anyways enough with the history lessons can we look at the facts
and the facts are simple you cannot defeat the Pashtun. Period and that is who negotiations are with.

No one wants foreign troops in their streets or villages, what part of that don't you get? When that happens you build resentment and resistance. What part of that don't you get.

And since so many NATO countries are not involved there is an option to ask them what they view this misson as.

Why are the Germans, French and Italians refusing front line combat hmmm.

No we didn't pull our troops out in December but we could have in February.

The Pashtuns and Afghanis don't want our country they want us out of theirs.