PDA

View Full Version : Canadian to assume leading role in Iraq war



Officer of Engineers
21 Nov 03,, 06:02
The General was the former CO of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, a tanker.




Thursday » November 20 » 2003

Canadian to assume leading role in Iraq war
Posting highlights Ottawa's ambiguity toward conflict

Chris Wattie
National Post


Thursday, November 20, 2003

A Canadian general will become one of the most senior officers early next year of the coalition force fighting in Iraq, despite Ottawa's insistence Canada is staying out of the conflict.

Brigadier-General Walt Natynczyk is deputy commander of the U.S. Army's Three Corps, which is to take command in Iraq next year, and he has already been given approval to engage in "military operations up to and including participation in hostilities" under a recently declassified order from the head of the Canadian Forces.

Brig.-Gen. Natynczyk, a Canadian exchange officer, will take the posting even though Canada has pointedly avoided contributing to the U.S.-led coalition.

"I've got the approval from my chain of command," he said yesterday in an interview with the National Post. "I will deploy with them early in the new year -- we don't have fixed dates yet."

Brig.-Gen. Natynczyk could be named second-in-command of the more than 130,000 U.S. and allied forces in Iraq, but said yesterday the mission's command structure has not been finalized.

"At this time the exact disposition of staff within that headquarters is not firm ... what actual function I fulfill in Iraq is uncertain as of today."

Defence analysts and opposition critics said the general's appointment is a continuation of a bizarre and contradictory government policy on Iraq.

In his farewell speech last weekend to the Liberal convention that confirmed Paul Martin as his successor, Mr. Chrétien earned a standing ovation when he boasted about keeping Canada out of the war in Iraq. "It was because [of] our deep belief as Canadians in the values of multilateralism and the United Nations that we did not go to war in Iraq," he said.

In fact, about 30 Canadian exchange officers participated in the invasion of Iraq, serving with U.S. and British units involved in the conflict. As well, Canadian warships in the Persian Gulf were escorting U.S. supply vessels carrying equipment and ammunition for the war.

Mr. Chrétien suggested the soldiers served only in support roles, but news reports indicated many of the Canadians were on the front lines. Almost a month after open hostilities ended, one Canadian exchange officer with the U.S. Army was wounded near the Baghdad airport by a grenade explosion.

John Thompson, director of the Mackenzie Institute, a defence and security think-tank, said Ottawa has effectively supported U.S. actions in Iraq while publicly criticizing them. "The Americans are still baffled that we refused to support the war in Iraq, but still continued to support the war in Iraq ... I think they find it bizarre," he said.

"Canadian aircraft were flying into Iraq during the war and Canadian ships were interdicting vessels in the Persian Gulf and escorting convoys in support of the war ... it was: 'Support if necessary; but not necessarily support.' "

Defence officials said yesterday that there are currently two Canadian exchange officers deployed in Iraq, both with British forces. They would not reveal any information on the two other than their ranks -- a captain and a major -- citing security concerns.

Jay Hill, the defence critic for the Canadian Alliance, said Mr. Martin should make a change of policy on Iraq a priority for his government.

"Our non-involvement in the liberation of Iraq has been badly mismanaged, right from the get-go," he said.

"We've had people in harm's way from the beginning ... yet we aren't getting the credit for it."

He said the government's public condemnations of the United States over Iraq have caused significant harm to relations between the Canadian Forces and their U.S. counterparts.

"If we don't see a change in the attitude of the government ... despite all the hard work by our men and women in uniform on the ground, that relationship will be harmed. There's no question about that."

Brig.-Gen. Natynczyk, a 28-year veteran of the Canadian Forces, said Canada's refusal to join the U.S.-led war on Iraq did not have any impact on his relationship with his American colleagues.

"It's not been an issue," he said. "There's not been any awkward moments from me, from that perspective."

He said he is looking forward to the mission to Iraq, despite the dangers from suicide bombs and attacks by insurgents still loyal to Saddam Hussein.

"I think it's going to be challenging and enlightening ... especially because of the scale of the operation," he said.

Brig.-Gen. Natynczyk, of Winnipeg, has served overseas with UN peacekeeping missions in Cyprus, Bosnia and Croatia, including acting as commander of the Canadian troops in Bosnia from 1998 to 1999.

Almost half of the 42,000 troops belonging to Three Corps are already in Iraq and the massive formation's headquarters is expected to deploy to the region early next year as Lieutenant-General Thomas Metz takes command of all military forces in Iraq.

cwattie@nationalpost.com

© Copyright 2003 National Post

Copyright © 2003 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest Global Communications Corp. All rights reserved.
Optimized for browser versions 4.0 and higher.

Ray
21 Nov 03,, 08:34
Canada is keen on some 'hands on' training in guerilla warfare? Good for them.

To my mind, they should have stuck around in Afghanistan and got some effective conclusion there instead.

Officer of Engineers
21 Nov 03,, 15:53
Sir,

BGen Natynczyk is only one man. I don't know how much anti-guerrilla experience he would get being stuck at III Corp's HQ.

Canada is committed to the ISAF in Afghanistan for at least one year. Frankly, Sir, we are not the best army for this type of operation. We lack the counter-insurgency expertise, let alone the experience for this type of operation. It's not even peacekeeping as much as Ottawa would like to tell the Canadian public. I have severe reservations in trying to impose a Peacekeeping mandate on an insurgency operation. That's one of the reasons why we lost two soldiers because of this woefully lack of competence in judgement and execution.

Afghanistan, Sir, needs a Stalin or a Hitler or even a Saddam to first unite the country and drag it forward into the 20th Century, most likely kicking and screaming. Until someone destroys the warlords, the country will forever be in dire straits. The Taliban were not the people to do this. Their vision was not progress.

Ray
21 Nov 03,, 20:10
Colonel,

I have not been to Afghanistan, but I understand the tribal psyche. Its a hell hole to be there to apply western standards of what you call 'civilisation'.

Their 'civilisation' is tribal loyalties like the Omerta. Now see what you have landed yourself into!

Leader
21 Nov 03,, 23:25
Originally posted by Officer of Engineers
Afghanistan, Sir, needs a Stalin or a Hitler or even a Saddam to first unite the country and drag it forward into the 20th Century, most likely kicking and screaming. Until someone destroys the warlords, the country will forever be in dire straits. The Taliban were not the people to do this. Their vision was not progress.

You know what happens when you have a Stalin or a Hitler? You have a war, which means that we'd just be giving back all the gains in Afghanistan. So, we can invade it again in ten years. I say we stick it out and fight now. Defeating the terrorist in Afghanistan isn't going to be any easier in ten years.

Ray
22 Nov 03,, 04:55
Leader,

We have been fighting the terrorists for a long, long time. Its a long haul. The US and the West does not have the patience to last it out nor the stoic to take all the deaths that is inevitable.

You can't use hi tech weapons either to kill guerillas who are there and yet one doesn't know his/ her presence.

Further, fighting terrorist for one's OWN land is different than fighting and dying for somebody else's land.

Officer of Engineers
26 Nov 03,, 07:14
Securing Afghanistan will cost NATO billions, top general warns
Vice-commander wants to stay until terrorists are routed

Cristin Schmitz
The Ottawa Citizen; with files from The Canadian Press


November 24, 2003

Canadian Forces Pte. Frederic Sabourin, left, and Pte. Jason Legros search for mines yesterday on the road near Kabul where two Canadian soldiers were killed Oct. 2. 'We all feel, quite frankly, emotional about what happened to Sgt. (Robert) Short and Cpl. (Robbie) Beerenfenger," said Maj.-Gen. Leslie. 'But there's a time for icy cold logic ... and the battalion has to be able to patrol down there.'
CREDIT: Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

KABUL -- Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan says NATO nations must be prepared to send thousands more soldiers and spend billions more over the next decade if Afghanistan is to be put on a secure and stable footing.

In a wide-ranging interview the day before he left Kabul for his mid-tour home leave, Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, vice-commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, also threw his strong support behind comments made last Friday by NATO Secretary General George Lord Robertson.

Lord Robertson suggested the military alliance must first succeed in routing terrorism in Afghanistan before responding to heavy U.S. pressure to send troops to Iraq. To cave in to American demands, Lord Robertson warned, would result in "two half-baked operations."

Acknowledging that as a soldier he is not supposed to wade into the political arena, "but what the hell," Maj.-Gen. Leslie stressed his own conviction that Canada and NATO "made the right choice in coming to Afghanistan."

"For the entirety of the 19 members in NATO it doesn't mean that they all have to focus exclusively on Afghanistan -- whether or not they want to send some of their troops and assets to Iraq, that's their business," Maj.-Gen. Leslie said Saturday.

"But I would hope to see NATO in Afghanistan for as long as the Afghan Transitional Authority wants us, and I would suspect that will be anywhere between five and 10 years."

Fielding a reporter's questions from the turret of a LAVIII on a mission high into the Afghan hills near Kabul to blow up an abandoned Soviet T55 tank packed with artillery shells and rocket-propelled grenades, a relaxed Maj.-Gen. Leslie revealed for the first time the potential contours of Canada's role in Afghanistan after Operation Athena, its current one-year, 2,000-soldier mission within ISAF, ends next August.

Asked to describe his own personal best-case scenario, Maj.-Gen. Leslie responded: "I would say we should continue to focus some effort in Kabul, but after August I think strong consideration should be given towards supporting the NATO mandate outside of Kabul."

As part of an expanded ISAF next year, the alliance is looking at creating provincial reconstruction teams, or PRTs, that consist of between 50 and 450 infantry soldiers, combat engineers and civilian experts to restore roads, water, electricity and other essential infrastructure in the 31 provinces outside the capital.

Maj.-Gen. Leslie called one or more PRTs a "good" option for Canada's future participation in the war-devastated country.

"We were sent here to make a difference and in the absence of any other coherent strategy, I think provincial reconstruction teams are definitely something that we should be thinking about really hard."

There will soon be a dozen PRTs in Afghanistan. Most are American-sponsored, but Germany, Britain, and New Zealand have also fielded teams.

Although the United States has emphasized that the main aim of its teams is to promote stability via small-scale, local development work, Maj.-Gen. Leslie says he personally favours a more robust mandate for a future PRT, should Canada decide to send one.

"There are two philosophies and the philosophies are not necessarily mutually exclusive," he explained. "The first philosophy is that the provincial reconstruction team should do just that -- it should provide a certain degree of reconstruction, a certain amount of aid money administered by military officers or civil affairs experts.

"The other philosophy is that the provincial reconstruction team is maybe misnamed," he said.

"It's more a provincial 'security' team -- and you send in well-trained soldiers and they provide an umbrella of security to allow a certain amount of reconstruction to occur." He said that would give international organizations, or non-governmental organizations "a safe umbrella under which they can operate."

"I would see the optimum model more security-heavy than reconstruction-heavy, and try to use the typical Canadian art of compromise and getting along with people to bring in international organizations, NGOs and other organizations to do the actual reconstruction."

Maj.-Gen. Leslie said the most difficult moment for him personally since NATO took over command of the UN-authorized peace-support operation in Kabul Aug. 11 was the death of two Canadian soldiers when their vehicle hit a mine in October.

"Like any commander I want to bring all my people home safe in mind and body," he said.

Using remote-controlled vehicles, prodding sticks and sometimes their bare hands, combat engineers began the painstakingly slow process yesterday of "clearing" the road near Kabul where Sgt. Robert Short and Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger died.

"We all feel, quite frankly, emotional about what happened to Sgt. Short and Cpl. Beerenfenger," said Maj.-Gen. Leslie.

"But there's a time for icy cold logic ... and the battalion has to be able to patrol down there."

Is Canada still willing to pay the price of its soldiers' blood in Afghanistan? "I suspect it is," he answered, "because if Canadian soldiers weren't here, a whole bunch of innocent people would die and we are a helping nation, so arguably, this is what we do."

Maj.-Gen. Leslie lauded his soldiers' accomplishment of "keeping tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people alive. If they weren't here, I submit that the situation would devolve down into chaos ... almost overnight."

© The Ottawa Citizen 2003

Copyright © 2003 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest Global Communications Corp. All rights reserved.

Officer of Engineers
26 Nov 03,, 07:21
As part of an expanded ISAF next year, the alliance is looking at creating provincial reconstruction teams, or PRTs, that consist of between 50 and 450 infantry soldiers, combat engineers and civilian experts to restore roads, water, electricity and other essential infrastructure in the 31 provinces outside the capital.

Maj.-Gen. Leslie called one or more PRTs a "good" option for Canada's future participation in the war-devastated country.

"We were sent here to make a difference and in the absence of any other coherent strategy, I think provincial reconstruction teams are definitely something that we should be thinking about really hard."

There will soon be a dozen PRTs in Afghanistan. Most are American-sponsored, but Germany, Britain, and New Zealand have also fielded teams.

Although the United States has emphasized that the main aim of its teams is to promote stability via small-scale, local development work, Maj.-Gen. Leslie says he personally favours a more robust mandate for a future PRT, should Canada decide to send one.

"There are two philosophies and the philosophies are not necessarily mutually exclusive," he explained. "The first philosophy is that the provincial reconstruction team should do just that -- it should provide a certain degree of reconstruction, a certain amount of aid money administered by military officers or civil affairs experts.

"The other philosophy is that the provincial reconstruction team is maybe misnamed," he said.

"It's more a provincial 'security' team -- and you send in well-trained soldiers and they provide an umbrella of security to allow a certain amount of reconstruction to occur." He said that would give international organizations, or non-governmental organizations "a safe umbrella under which they can operate."

"I would see the optimum model more security-heavy than reconstruction-heavy, and try to use the typical Canadian art of compromise and getting along with people to bring in international organizations, NGOs and other organizations to do the actual reconstruction."

Translation: small isolated garrisons. Echoes of those wiped out Soviet garrisons. And LGen Leslie thinks these current PRTs are too lightly armed? Why don't we just tell the Taliban and Al Qeida where's the best place to slit our throats?!?!?!

Have we not learned from the Soviet and British (and Persain and Turkic and Mongol) experiences? I am more and more frustrated at seeing mistakes being repeated!

Praxus
26 Nov 03,, 19:54
These Taliban and Al Quada Forces in Afghanistan have to be one of the most incompitant forces on the planet. They can't even take on something the size of a Platoon let a lone be destructive enough to throw us out.

OE I think you give the bad guys too much credit.

s_qwert63
26 Nov 03,, 20:51
Originally posted by Leader
You know what happens when you have a Stalin or a Hitler? You have a war, which means that we'd just be giving back all the gains in Afghanistan. So, we can invade it again in ten years. I say we stick it out and fight now. Defeating the terrorist in Afghanistan isn't going to be any easier in ten years.

The Soviets have been trying to civilize Afghanistan for 10 years, our soldiers were building schools, kindergardens and trying to aid the people. But the Afghans didn't care, they are warrior people, they are more or less born to fight. Ever heard of the British campaigns in Afghanistan? probably no, since you found out the meaning of what a "foreign country" is after Sept. 11th.

Lost count of his personal attacks --Moderator

s_qwert63
26 Nov 03,, 20:53
Originally posted by Praxus
These Taliban and Al Quada Forces in Afghanistan have to be one of the most incompitant forces on the planet. They can't even take on something the size of a Platoon let a lone be destructive enough to throw us out.

OE I think you give the bad guys too much credit.

There is not enough information coming out of Afghanistan to inform us on what exactly is happening there. There is still a war going on there, and there are still Americans dying.
Luckily the warlords are not pissed off yet, because they are allowed to grow their drugs in peace, if they would raise their armies, then Afghanistan would heat up.

Praxus
26 Nov 03,, 21:05
We know that the casulties coming from Afghanistan are military insignificant and aren't even close to being enough to change American people's minds.

Jay
26 Nov 03,, 21:06
Originally posted by Praxus
These Taliban and Al Quada Forces in Afghanistan have to be one of the most incompitant forces on the planet. They can't even take on something the size of a Platoon let a lone be destructive enough to throw us out.

OE I think you give the bad guys too much credit.

Praxus,
Afghanistan has never been ruled by outsiders...period! You cannot subdue them! ther is no single entity in Afghanistan, so defeating them is not possbile, unless you nuke them and push them to oblivion.

Officer of Engineers
26 Nov 03,, 21:08
Khandahar Airport when the Taliban forced a Ranger coy to withdraw, the casualties sufferred at Operation Annaconda, the current battalion size ops launched by the Americans and the Afghan National Army says pretty well that the Taliban and Al Qeida are pretty effective at the coy level.

Afghan history has never been one of throwing the occupier out. They just make the cost of staying more than any benefit they could reaped from the place.

Thus far, both the Americans and the ISAF are sufficently massed that the Taliban and Al Qeida are forced to attack the small patrols, ex the minestrike that killed two Canadians.

These PRTs, however, have insufficent mass and would be tempting targets for superior numbers.

This is all too familiar. The Soviet answer was a heloborned RRF which was pretty effective in relieving garrisons under seige. This worked for them until the Mujahadeen acquired Stingers and SA-7s (from the Chinese).

The Taliban and Al Qeida don't have MANPADs. Yet.

Once they do, then these PRTs are going to suffer the same fates as those Soviet garrisons.

smilingassassin
13 Dec 03,, 23:37
First of good ridens to bad rubbish, all Cretien did was talk out of the side of his mouth and his @ss at the same time. All the while he was preaching "anti-Iraq war" propaganda for his U.N. buddy's Canadians were clandestinely fighting in Iraq aside from those in Afganistan. Clearly he screwed up, because our troops could have benifited from the action in Iraq in large numbers and we would be reaping the benifits afterwords in healthy contracts in Iraq that could help pay for badly needed improvements to air army, airforce and navy chopper replcement program. Instead we get a hand shake fro Chirac a snub from bush and Cretien hoping to be the next noble peace prize winner. Thats maybe the moral highground but not exactly in Canada's best interest as all Cretien managed to do was snub a close longtime freind to get a slap on the back from France, a country that desperately wants to be as relevant as they were 200 years ago. I for one am glad to see a canadian general getting a crack in Iraq. I only hope Paul Martin is just 10 times as competent as Cretien and restores Canada's relationship with the U.S. A lot of Canadians helped stranded Americans on sept. 11th and Cretien has managed to erase that good deed by selling out to the France.

Officer of Engineers
14 Dec 03,, 04:56
Well,

I have to hand it to Chretien. He never said that Canada was against the war. In fact, he stated in Parliment that he wished the Americans would win over Iraq. All he ever stated was that Canada would not act without UN authorization.

The man is so slippery that he makes my skin crawl.

Land Force dodged a bullet avoiding the Iraq War. It would have wiped out our abilities to man another op (meaning that we could not meet our commitements in Bosnia) for at least 4 years. We would have come home and stayed home to lick our wounds. The Brits, themselves, are now exhausted and cannot man other war for the same period.

However, it must be said that LF was committed regardless of the cost of the op. It was felt that this was the right thing to do.

Officer of Engineers
04 Mar 04,, 15:59
March 08, 2004

'This Is a Dangerous Theatre'

BRIG.-GEN. WALTER NATYNCZYK: a senior Canadian soldier, seconded to the U.S. army, discusses serving in Iraq

OTTAWA'S decision not to join George W. Bush's coalition of the willing in the U.S.-led war in Iraq last March has led to frayed relations with Washington. That's despite Canada's contribution to the war on terror: the 2,000 troops in Afghanistan, the largest contingent of the 5,000-strong, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force based in Kabul. And, as it turns out, Canadians have served in Iraq -- while on exchange programs with American and British forces. That's currently the case with Brig.-Gen. Walter Natynczyk, a 28-year veteran of the armed forces who is the most senior of the dozens of Canadians deployed in Iraq to date. Since July 2002, Natynczyk, accompanied by his wife and one of his three children, had been seconded to the U.S. army's III Corps in Fort Hood, Texas. (The couple's other two kids are attending school in Canada.) While in Texas, the Winnipeg native, an armour expert whose regiment is the Royal Canadian Dragoons, served as deputy commander. When III Corps began shipping out to Iraq in January, Natynczyk, 46, was part of the troop rotation. He is now based in one of Saddam Hussein's former presidential palaces in Baghdad, where he is the coalition's deputy chief of policy, strategy and planning, helping direct the movements of U.S., British and Australian troops. Natynczyk spoke with Maclean's correspondent Scott Taylor in Baghdad about the U.S. army, the conflict in Iraq and the role he is playing.




One of your duties as deputy commander of III Corps was training. Pre-deployment, how much time was spent on the lessons learned on the ground here?

Quite a lot. It was a really novel approach where the senior leaders flew to Jordan to the Jordanian Peace-keeping Institute, kind of akin to the Pearson centre in Nova Scotia. We participated in cultural awareness and stability operations lessons.

The newly arrived soldiers have watched the news and know that Americans are not being greeted as liberators. Mentally, how do you train them coming in here?

I think that the American soldier is really well trained. Their ability to turn over lessons learned from Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo and other theatres and put them into their techniques and procedures is very impressive. I'm also impressed to see the number of people who have combat patches, so they are ready for the low-intensity fight, they are ready for the high-intensity fight. The American army has also gone to the U.K. army to learn as many lessons as possible from them. There's a lot of sharing of all kinds of experiences.

The problem is that this is an unconventional war being fought by conventional fighters. I applaud the leadership for trying to give these young soldiers as much depth and breadth of experience as they have.

The U.S. is consolidating a number of bases in Baghdad, reducing the footprint of the American military. Is that for military or political reasons?

All I can say is that it's really important that we grow the Iraqi security forces, whether they are police, civil defence or the new Iraqi army. We've gone through a lot of training with these people, but at some point you've got to back away. In the end, the issue is handing sovereignty back to the Iraqis and allowing those maturing security forces to take the helm.

But without the body armour, the heavy weapons, they're considered soft targets.

This is a dangerous theatre, there's no doubt about that.

When it was announced in November that you would be here, opposition parties in Ottawa objected, questioning how Canada could oppose the war yet deploy a senior officer. How do you feel about that?

I take orders from the Canadian government. The Canadian government sent me to Fort Hood, bottom line, to show in a tangible way the close affiliation between the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian government approved my deployment, so from my perspective there was no controversy. The instructions to me were clear: "move out" -- and as a soldier I complied.

Still, you have to operate under something of a dual command. Does that make it difficult to function here?

I answer to the [Canadian] deputy chief of defence staff and through him to the chief of defence staff. Whether I'm here or in Bosnia, Afghanistan or wherever, he maintains full national command of me. In this environment, I'm under the operational control of the III Corps commander. At the end of the day, there's a hierarchy of command. But I've been given pretty clear guidance to soldier on.

Personally, do you feel the intervention was justified?

That's way above my pay scale to speculate. But I am incredibly impressed by this country and its potential for the future. What I can say is that I believe we're making a contribution. There's a heck of a lot of people who will have a better life and a better future because of what we're doing here today.



Copyright by Rogers Media Inc.
May not be reprinted or republished without permission.



This story can be found at:
http://www.macleans.ca/topstories/qanda/article.jsp?content=20040308_76768_76768

Ray
04 Mar 04,, 16:58
Afghanistan has never been captured by anyone. I second that. There is no entity called Afghanistan as such. Its a whole lot of tribal groups and sub groups with totally divergent views with fierce tribal loyalties etc. Awfully difficult to organise them into any semblance of order.

That is the greatest challenge.

Officer of Engineers
08 Mar 04,, 05:15
Sunday » March 7 » 2004

Canada to send squadron, infantry company to Afghanistan in August

STEPHEN THORNE
Canadian Press


Sunday, March 07, 2004

OTTAWA (CP) - Canada is planning to send a mechanized reconnaissance squadron to Afghanistan when the current battalion group finishes its tour in August, sources have told The Canadian Press.

The plan is to deploy a Coyote squadron from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) and a company of infantry soldiers from 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Both are based in Edmonton.

One would be attached to the existing International Security Assistance Force in Kabul while the other would be deployed to a so-called provincial reconstruction team elsewhere in the country, highly placed military sources said.

The plan could change, but the commitment will match or exceed the 500 troops Prime Minister Paul Martin has said would be the maximum Canada could spare.

Defence Minister David Pratt would not confirm the deployment plans in an interview, but said he will be meeting with NATO allies in the coming days and expects to make an announcement within two weeks.

"We're going to be in a position to make an announcement within the next couple of weeks on the future commitment in Afghanistan," Pratt said.

"We'll confirm precisely what we've got in mind when the time comes, after we've done all of the necessary consultations and we have a better sense of what our allies are going to be doing."

Pratt said Canada has been in consultations with NATO members in recent weeks and will be taking part in another key meeting this week, the results of which may dictate the direction Canada takes in Afghanistan next August.

NATO countries have not exactly been surging forward with offers to fill the void left when Canada withdraws its 2,100 soldiers from the 5,400-strong NATO force based in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Canadian officials have been looking at potential sites for a provincial reconstruction team, but sources say the decision to go that route may come later.

On Friday, Pratt announced about 425 soldiers and helicopter crew would be deployed to Haiti over the next three weeks for a 90-day UN mission.

The minister said the $38-million deployment will in no way affect future missions in Afghanistan.

The core of the deployment - 160 riflemen from 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment in Gagetown, N.B. - is not attached to any brigade group, Pratt said, so it won't further stretch from the military's already strained rotations.

He said it also won't affect the respite the Forces have been counting on in the fall, after Canada's long-term commitment to Bosnia is over.

"This was the best option with respect to the speed with which we could get into theatre and the level of training that the 2RCR already had," Pratt said.

"In a certain sense, we were very, very fortunate because not only was the 2RCR the immediate reaction unit for the Atlantic area, but they were already trained up on non-combatant evacuation."

Pratt said the number of soldiers who are out of the mix because of so-called operational waivers - meaning they've been deployed overseas within the last year, rendering them undeployable - will account for less than 10 per cent of the military by fall.

A significant number of troops have waived their rights to one year off between overseas missions, he added.

The chief of defence staff, Gen. Ray Henault, said last fall the military needs an 18-month reprieve from major overseas commitments to regenerate its force.

© Copyright 2004 The Canadian Press

Copyright © 2004 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest Global Communications Corp. All rights reserved.
Optimized for browser versions 4.0 and higher.

Ray
08 Mar 04,, 08:09
To comment on the ISAF, its capabilities and it constant rethinking of organisation and approach requires more depth than what meets the eye.

While I don't claim to be the last word in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist Operations, I can say this much that in my 35 years of service I have seen insurgents, terrorists and have combated insurgency, practically from Day 1 and in all types of terrain, some equally harsh or even worse than Afghanistan.

The main problem with counter insurgency operations or peace keeping/ peace enforcement operations is that the insurgent/ guerrilla are 'invisible'. They look the same as any other civilian. They all wear clothes are loose fitting and are such that small calibre weapons or grenades can be kept under the cloak like apparel. Therefore, either one treats every civilian as a guerrilla and start bashing them up [and thus alienating the population which become more sympathetic to the guerrillas and thus compounding the problem] or one shows restrain. If the population gets hostile,[without expressing so outwardly, the situation becomes even worse. If one shows restraint, then there is also a good chance of being shot up or blown sky high with weapons hidden below the cloak. It's an awful situation to be. The situation is worse for the ISAF. I operated in my country; the ISAF is operating far from its shores and logistical backup. I could communicate; the ISAF doesn't know the local language! Translators can be double agents!

The terrain and the winding roads [both within and without the urban areas] are ideal for ambushes. The garbage dumps and piles of stone can be ideal for Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that blows up vehicles and men. A 24 hour vigil over roads that have been searched for mines, IEDs and then picquetted can still spring surprises! In short it is a mug's game.

The only way is to solve the issue is to raze the complete country. But that is no answer. The answer is to win the 'hearts and minds of people'. Another difficult task. It requires finances and resources even more than what is required to run one's own country. Then, whatever you construct to help the population, the terrorists will blow that up too!

Afghanistan is worse. It is no country. It is an amalgam of tribal fiefdoms with fiercely independent tribal governance organisations and private armies. Something like the medieval times where the fief lords maintained their identity and rendered service when called upon. That is possibly the reason why the ISAF wants to go for the garrison concept. So long as the garrisons are strong in defence and has the capability to launch forays it will be fine. However, that there will be no attacks on the garrison cannot be ruled out.

While we concentrate on secondary issues like 'liberation' of women and all that with cosmetic value like condemning the wearing of 'chador' or having an NGO which is teaching Afghani women the finer points of beauty care, we seem to be missing the woods for the tree. What is required is modern scientific education and not the madrassa form which is decadent and obscurantist. Modern education will open up greater horizons than the narrow confines of the scriptures, even if such scriptures are appealing to the followers. The power to analyse the scriptures with the modern environment and demands of the contemporary world and societal well being will dawn.

Likewise, as the internet has closed the gap in comprehension of the 'other world' as indeed is this forum, Afghanistan requires a robust communication with interconnectivity roads. It requires industries so that people migrate and see the other parts of their country and interact. There will be strife and new problems but there will be a learning of 'tolerance to ambiguity'.

Then and then alone will the current problem of Afghanistan abate to some extent.


One must take a leaf from the British. They not only divide the Indian population into warring religious divides, Macaulay also divided each community into those who became Westernised Oriental Gentlemen or WOGs and the others! Obviously, the Westernised Oriental Gentlemen won! Nehru is an ideal example.

ChrisF202
10 Mar 04,, 22:27
Originally posted by Praxus
These Taliban and Al Quada Forces in Afghanistan have to be one of the most incompitant forces on the planet. They can't even take on something the size of a Platoon let a lone be destructive enough to throw us out.

OE I think you give the bad guys too much credit.
I just want to say one thing, im not wishing that we lose, im just stating a fact. The Russian casulties in Afghanistan and the Mujadieen attacks (sp) dident start mounting till the mid 1980's, over 5 years after the 1979 invasion. Weve only been in Afghanistan for 3 years. And the majority of the US and allied troops in Afganistan are special forces, and the training level of the average Russian soldier was nowhere near that of a US special forces operative.