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Afghanistan: Why we should be there (or not), how to conduct the mission (or not) & when to leave

Jim Seggie said:
At this rate I may even get a tour in.

LFWA has the last kick at the cat for Op Attention. At that point it'll be easier as a Snr NCO to get positions than a Cpl!
PuckChaser said:
LFWA has the last kick at the cat for Op Attention. At that point it'll be easier as a Snr NCO to get positions than a Cpl!
As an MWO/CWO?

Doubt it.
You'd be surprised how many of them are floating around here.
PuckChaser said:
You'd be surprised how many of them are floating around here.

No kidding. And how they're inventing ways to amuse/occupy themselves at the expense of troops in certain cases...
My MWO from 09 was back with the Valcartier Roto last year.  It's possible, Jim.
The Taliban’s revenge
A new generation of militants is rising in Afghanistan, turning its sights on former allies
by Adnan R. Khan on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 9:38am

There is nothing suggesting violence in the Taliban fighter quietly sipping tea in a corner of the room. In any case, the police headquarters for Afghanistan’s Sarobi district sit next to the safe house we’re in. He knows the building well. Not long ago, he was a member of the security forces, charged with protecting Afghans from the Taliban fighters he now calls his “brothers.”

Jawad speaks animatedly, between cautious sips from his teacup. “When the foreigners first came here, I thought, why not work with them?” says the 28-year-old, a native of Uzbin, northeast of Kabul, the Afghan capital. “I never felt animosity for foreigners,” he adds. That, however, was then.

Jawad joined the Afghan security services a decade ago, as a teenager newly returned from Pakistan’s dilapidated refugee camps, where he’d spent much of his life. It was an exciting time. Finally, his family would reclaim their land. There was the promise of a new future, of prosperity guaranteed by the money the outside world brought with it...


I suppose it should not come as much of a surprise in the end.
"The head of NATO says he wants Canadian soldiers to extend their stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. While Ottawa has said 900 of our remaining troops will be coming home in a couple of years, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said training Afghanistan's army is going to take time, and he wants the Canadian Forces to stay longer. "I appreciate very much that Canada provides trainers for our training mission in Afghanistan and I hope Canada will be in a position to continue that contribution also after 2014," Rasmussen said Monday in an exclusive interview with Global National's Sean Mallen at NATO's headquarters in Brussels. "From that time on, the Afghans will have full responsibility, but they still need our assistance and this is the reason why we will continue a training mission," the NATO Secretary General added. "And I hope Canada will continue to support our training mission." It appears Prime Minister Stephen Harper is open to keeping Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan a little longer. "We will assess what is necessary to make sure that Afghanistan continues to progress toward being a state that is not a threat to global security, and that is able to take care of its own security," he said in Ottawa on Monday. "Those are our objectives and beyond that, we haven't made any final decisions." ...."
Global News, 14 May 12
The Canadian Forces mission in Afghanistan to train the country's army will end in 2014 as planned despite entreaties from NATO to extend the deployment, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.

At a meeting of NATO leaders in Chicago, MacKay said Canada has "been a major contributor" to the Afghan war "since the very beginning" and has done more than its fair share. Canada will continue to contribute to Afghanistan in ways other than military personnel, he said. It's believed that would include financial assistance and development aid.

"That doesn't necessarily mean troop contributions or trainers — that means giving the Afghans the resources that they need to continue to make progress and hold the fort," MacKay said.

A formal announcement on Canada's plans for Afghanistan is expected Monday from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is also in Chicago for the NATO meeting ....
CBC.ca, 21 May 12
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today confirmed that Canada's military mission in Afghanistan will come to a firm and final end once the current training mission concludes on March 31, 2014. The Prime Minister made the announcement at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit in Chicago.

"For more than a decade, the brave men and women of our Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and many dedicated public servants and civilians have made enormous sacrifices to assist the Afghan people," said the Prime Minister. "Canada will honour its commitment and complete its current training mission but our country will not have any military mission in Afghanistan after March 2014."

To ensure the future stability of a secure and democratic Afghanistan the Prime Minister announced that Canada will provide financial support to the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF). 

“Canada plays an integral role in ensuring that Afghan National Security Forces are well-trained so they can assume full responsibility for their own national security,” said Prime Minister Harper.  “The support being announced today will help sustain these Forces by ensuring they are well equipped beyond 2014.”

Canada will contribute $110 million per year over three years (2015-2017) towards helping sustain the ANSF. Canada joins a broad international coalition of NATO and non-NATO partners in supporting the ANSF. Canada will insist on strict accountability measures for this fund.

The Prime Minister added that the Afghan Government must continue to demonstrate its commitment to meeting international human rights obligations, combating corruption, strengthening the rule of law, increasing tolerance of religious freedoms, and protecting women’s rights as enshrined in the Afghan Constitution.

Canada’s ultimate goal is to sustain the gains that have been made as a result of the sacrifices of Canadian troops and help Afghans rebuild Afghanistan into a viable country that is better governed, more stable and secure, and never again a safe haven for terrorists.
PM Info-machine, 21 May 12
.... on the mission - highlights mine:
“Good afternoon everybody.

“I’d like to thank President Obama for hosting two very productive summits this week.

“This has been an important year for NATO.

“Our Alliance acted quickly, effectively and in coordination with outside partners to help the Libyan people to bring down a tyrannical regime.

“And of course, we’re all proud that this was accomplished under Canadian leadership, the leadership of General Bouchard.

“Today we came together with a broad range of partners to discuss Afghanistan’s future.

“Canada’s objectives in Afghanistan have been clear.

“We want to ensure that Afghanistan does not again become a centre of global terrorism, and we want to see the Afghans take primary responsibility for their own security.

“For these reasons, I committed to our allies at our last meeting in Lisbon that Canada would contribute substantially to the NATO mission to help train Afghan forces until March 2014.

“Today I’m confirming that we will honour that commitment and that the end date is firm and final.

“Canada will not have a military mission in Afghanistan after March 2014.

“Since 2002, the brave men and women of our Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and many dedicated public servants and civilians have made enormous sacrifices to help the Afghan people.

“We will continue to assist the Afghan people going forward.

“Specifically, to ensure the transition of security to the Afghans themselves continues, we will make a significant financial contribution to the NATO Fund for Afghan National Security Forces.

“Canada will insist that there be strict accountability measures in place for this fund.

“This will help ensure lasting results for the hard-won progress that Canadians had made in Afghanistan.

“It will also be necessary, of course, for the Afghan government to take greater responsibility for matters beyond security including redoubling efforts to improve governance, respect human rights and fight corruption.

“Finally, I also want to note that I had useful discussions on these issues and other bilateral matters with our allies over the past few days, including with President Hollande, President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, Prime Minister Rutte and Chancellor Merkel.”
PMO Info-machine, 21 May 12
Perhaps not a direct match to this thread, here is a photo essay of Afghanistan in the 50's and 60's; before the start of the Civil War, Soviet Invasion, battles between Muhajadin factions, the takover by the Taliban and the Allied liberation. Afghanistan was a reasonably modern nation by the standards of the day, and certainly bringing them back to where they were should be reason enough....


Pictures of Afghanistan in the Fifties and Sixties Are Totally Depressing
Tim Cavanaugh|Oct. 4, 2012 2:45 pm

"Given the images people see on TV, many conclude Afghanistan never made it out of the Middle Ages," writes Mohammad Qayoumi at Retronaut. "But that is not the Afghanistan I remember. I grew up in Kabul in the 1950s and ’60s. Stirred by the fact that news portrayals of the country’s history didn’t mesh with my own memories, I wanted to discover the truth."

Qayoumi's gallery of what the Graveyard of Empires looked like before it was brought into contemporary civilization by the Hippie Trail, Soviet modernization, Taliban discipline and American nation-building is at once endearing, heartbreaking and disturbing. Because it turns out pre-modern Afghanistan looked pretty, well, modern.

There are Afghans of the Mad Men era going to the movies:

...taking kids to the playground:

...shopping for decadent clothing:

...getting around town using state-of-the-art transit systems:

...and even attending college classes in sensible skirts:


The degrading of fashion is bad, but it's not the worst thing. (Even in America, where mayors can't even be bothered to wear neckties when greeting schoolchildren, people think nothing of dressing like slobs for every occasion.) What's disturbing is that actual civilzational retrograde is so rare in the modern world that you can almost believe it never happens. Even a few years after World War II, most Western Europeans had a higher standard of living than they had had before the war. Yet here you have a country that was apparently not in the dark ages, but got there as fast as it could.
An unfortunate truth about Afghanistan, it reverted back to the stone age, some might take that as a warning for the rest of 'civilization'.

I had a girlfriend who's mother had been there in the 60's and 70's, the changes are horrifying.