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

i dont think the word 'tripe' is used enough, very old school

and good links above, thanks for the info
boondocksaint said:
i dont think the word 'tripe' is used enough, very old school

It's true, and we've been seeing a LOT of it on the wires as of late.
CBC News Viewpoint | September 13, 2006
also see: A Soldier's Life by Russell Storring - http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/vp_storring/

Russell Storring is a Sergeant with the Canadian Army, and has been a signals operator for the 15 years he has been in the military. He recently returned from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, having served there previously in 2003, and with the UN in Rwanda in 1994. His columns give a first-person account from the field and the life of a soldier.

To date, the war on terror in Afghanistan has resulted in 386 coalition deaths, of which, 32 have been Canada's sons and daughters. This statistic tragically places Canada second only to the U.S. in overall casualties.

In addition to those who have paid the ultimate price, 88 more Canadian soldiers have been wounded and will carry the scars of battle and death for the rest of their lives.

This reality, tied with the experience of thousands of soldiers who have served in Afghanistan (many twice or more), has shaped our training. Most training is now centred on realistic scenarios and lessons learned from those who have already been there. For soldiers deploying to this theatre for their first tour, and possibly more so for veterans of Afghanistan, the old saying of "it won't happen to me" quite simply does not exist anymore.

A few weeks ago as I read the morning news, my heart skipped a beat when I saw the name Cpl. Jesse Melnyck, but relaxed slightly when I found out that he was injured but listed in stable condition. Melnyck was one of my command post signallers and drivers on Roto 0 in Afghanistan, and although we didn't go through any events together like he has just been through, he, like all the soldiers who have worked for me in the past, is still "one of my soldiers."

I managed to visit him at an Ottawa hospital just after one of his reconstructive surgeries and found him in good spirits. Like a true soldier, he expressed his desire to go back and finish the job, despite losing an eye and having a scar from his forehead to his temple. Even after what he has gone through, and the surgery he still has to go through, he told me he has no regrets and would do it all again if given the chance. Even after coming so close to death, he was still pissed that he didn't get to stay and finish his part of the job. He, like so many others, has given more than what was expected.

Later as Nathalie and I talked, we both realized I may be headed back to Afghanistan quite possibly as early as summer 2007. Although Nathalie and I don't always see things in the same light, she has taken the time to ask, and I have taken the time to explain why I (like so many other soldiers) am still willing to take the increased risk of a more robust deployment to Afghanistan.

Despite the increase in insurgent activities since early 2006, Afghanistan is still moving forward on the road of democracy and reconstruction. Schools, hospitals, clinics and businesses remain open despite suicide bombings, fire bombings, and rocket attacks. Thousands of Afghanis have been killed in attempts by the Taliban to bring fear to the population, like they did when they were in power. Unfortunately the Taliban have failed to realize that the people of Afghanistan have spoken and voted for democracy and freedom, and the more the Taliban try to terrorize, the more the people will fight back and the more they will support the efforts of the fledgling government and the coalition.

Not an occupation force

Helping them fight back is the coalition. We are not an "occupation force" as some even here in Canada have stated, but backers of the legitimate Afghanistan government, which was voted in by a huge majority of Afghans who wanted their first democracy in 25 years.

Under the Taliban, Afghanistan stepped back in time rather than forward. There were mass executions and beatings, and thousands of Afghans simply disappeared. In an effort to remove anything that did not fall under the Taliban's view of acceptable to Islam, museums, universities and places of culture such as the Bamiyan Buddha statues were destroyed.

One of my interpreters on Roto 4 told me of a professor he knew who had ripped a number of valuable paintings to pieces, hid them to keep them from being burned. Once the Taliban were overthrown, the pieces were then put back together. Had the professor been caught, he would have been executed on the spot for defying a Taliban edict.

The Taliban ruled by the gun, and controlled the population through fear and suffering. This is the only thing they know, and even now as they slowly lose their grip on Afghanistan and their former strongholds in the south, they continue to try to force the population to support them through suicide bombings, the burning and rocketing of schools, and attacks on Afghan and coalition forces.

It is the action of a dying and desperate force. They are not yet ineffective, as witnessed by Canadian and coalition deaths, but are slowly dying as the Afghan people show they no longer want the Taliban — and they show this by simply carrying on. Something so simple, such as picking up the pieces, reopening bombed stores, going to school and to work, speaks a message the Taliban cannot stand, and that is this: They are no longer wanted.

It won't be an easy struggle by any means, but it is something we must finish and see through to the end. If we abandon the Afghan people now, the Taliban will use their tactics of fear and suffering to gain a more powerful hold on Afghanistan and quite possibly create a more dangerous safe haven for terrorists than was witnessed in 2001, putting even more of us in danger in the global war on terror.

Staying the course is the only option. It is what the Afghans need, it is what Canada and the world needs, and it is what our fallen need to ensure their sacrifice was not in vain.
Following is a letter that my husband wrote to the National Post.  They only posted the first two lines in the "Letters" Section of the September 11th edition. I apologize if I've posted it in the wrong area but I thought that you might like to read the entire letter.

Winston Churchill once said that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.  Good advice for Jack Layton and the NDP.  Obviously, Jack Layton is not much of a student of Canadian history.

Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen have fought and died on foreign soil, to defend our way of life and freedoms for over a century.  From the Boer War, to the First World War, to World War II and Korea, our men and women in uniform have answered the call of duty.  The very right he has, to espouse his ill-conceived views was bought with the blood of much better people.  Canada’s place on the world stage was not claimed by running away at the first sign of blood.  On the contrary, historians have said that Canada’s true nationhood was recognized after our soldiers took Vimy Ridge.  The sacrifice of our young men, in the hundreds of thousands in both World Wars is a testament to the strength of character of previous generations.  Unlike our neighbours to the south, the Canadian Army was mostly a volunteer force.  Unlike today, we didn’t hear about the death of each soldier, five minutes after it happened, on the noon news.  That’s because they were being killed in greater numbers every day, than we have lost in four years in Afghanistan.

Are the people of Afghanistan any less worthy of our assistance than say, the people of Poland?  Was the Kaiser more of a direct threat to Canada than say, the Taliban?  As we approach the anniversary of the September 11th attacks in the USA, can anybody in Canada be naïve enough to believe that it couldn’t happen here?  Allowing countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and others to descend into anarchy provides a breeding ground for Islamic militants.  These people have only one interest; the destruction of western civilization.  They don’t differentiate between Americans, Canadians, Brits, Spaniards, or even Russians.  They mean to destroy our way of life.  If we don’t tackle them over there, they will attack us here soon enough.  Conciliatory gestures won’t pacify a rabid dog.

The role of the Canadian soldier as a “peace keeper” is largely the invention of gutless politicians, for whom sacrifice is paying their own way back to their riding offices from Ottawa.  The men and women serving in today’s Canadian Forces are living examples of the values left to us by the “Greatest Generation”.  Ask a soldier which mission he would prefer to be on; Afghanistan with NATO or South Lebanon with the UN and it’s convoluted rules of engagement.  I’m willing to bet that the choice would be overwhelmingly in favour of the former.  Read Romeo Dallaire’s book “Witness to Evil” for a first hand account of our glorious peace keeping record and the joys of UN missions.

If Canada wants to be a full participant in world affairs, we have to be prepared to step up and contribute our share to preserve peace and stability, even when the going gets tough.  Al Qaeda and the Taliban are counting on our lack of intestinal fortitude.  They expect us to cut and run as the images of our soldiers coming home in coffins hits the news on television and the weaker kneed of us, like Jack Layton, start to squirm and squeal.

Our troops know and understand this.  They possess the moral certitude which comes with strength of character.  Each soldier who serves in Afghanistan is a volunteer.  None are forced to go.  All are proud to serve.  If you can’t support their mission, then shut up and stay out of the way.

Greg and Sam Jxxxxxxx
Proud parents of a Canadian soldier
Brampton, ON

Well, I've have sent link to this Ruxted article to all my non-military friends and I've heard back that many have sent it on to their friends.  I am guessing that at least a few other site members have sent out the link, and in this way we are doing a small bit to help educate people.  However, if the PM does not adddress the points (in the Ruxted words or in his own), the message will get out to enough Canadians.  The urgency/importance of this was raised in a post from another thread:

Meridian said:
As has been previously said on this board, what is frustrating is that the media can only report on one side of this issue, because both the Prime Minister and his government (including DND) have been useless in actually providing another side to the debate.

As a civilian and as someone continuing to desire a role in our military, I welcome democratic debate. It's healthy.  The problem is that When only one side gets all the airtime (because the other side isnt saying much of anything),  its no longer a debate.

Much as I disagree with Jack, the problem is, Canadians don't care what I think. They want a leader to follow who makes sense.  Jack is appealing to old-school Canadian values, and no-oine with legitimacy is appealing with another angle.

Until someone does, Jack will keep spewing his ideas (warped as they may be to you and I), and the media will keep giving him airtime.  Noone else is asking for any.

Expert advice on Afghanistan
Sep. 14, 2006. 01:00 AM

Afghanistan is at a crossroads and, with it, Canada's involvement: "We should bring our troops home." "No, we shouldn't." "We should talk to the Taliban." "No, we shouldn't."

With no easy answers available, I talked to two knowledgeable people, veteran diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi and Afghan Canadian filmmaker Nelofer Pazira.

Pazira's family in Kabul fled the Soviet occupation in 1989 and came to Canada a year later. She has made two movies, Kandahar (2001) and Return to Kandahar (2003), and wrote a book, A Bed of Red Flowers: In Search of My Afghanistan (2005).

Pazira, 33, has just returned from a month-long visit to her native land. Unlike the journalists "embedded" with foreign troops, she travelled widely and talked to the people.

She says the Hamid Karzai government "has lost its legitimacy," given its corruption, incompetence and alliances with the regional warlords.

Afghans, caught between the Taliban and NATO troops, are "frustrated, anxious and cynical," especially in Kandahar, the city and the province of the same name.

In Kabul, the foreign troops are seen as forces of good, because they have been. In the south, they are viewed as incompetent occupiers making things worse.

"I am torn. The Canadian in me says, `What are we doing there?' The Afghan in me says, `What if the foreigners all pack up and leave? Will the country go back to pre-9/11?'"

What about Jack Layton's idea of talking to the Taliban?

"That's the only sensible thing I've heard lately. Realistically, diplomacy is the right way. The Taliban are not a homogeneous group, anyway."

Brahimi, 72, the world-renowned United Nations envoy, is a former foreign minister of Algeria, who in 1990 helped the Arab League end the Christian-Muslim civil war in Lebanon.

Post-Taliban, he organized the Bonn conference (November 2001), then the loya jirga, the traditional gathering of tribes (June 2002), and stayed on until December 2004 trying to turn the failed state into a functioning one.

Since then, he has been a UN envoy to Iraq (2004) and Darfur (2006).

I reached him in his Paris apartment.

"We have expected miracles in Afghanistan but miracles don't happen very often on Earth. A country that has systematically been destroyed for 25 years is not going to become paradise in 25 or 35 months.

"The Taliban had never been defeated. They had been pushed out of Kabul. They scattered all over and were demoralized but now some of them have regrouped and are reminding the world that they exist."

The Taliban are back because of the mistakes made by the United States and the allies.

"One of my own biggest mistakes was not to speak to the Taliban in 2002 and 2003.

"It was not possible to get them in the tent at the Bonn conference because of 9/11 and they themselves were not eager. But immediately after that, we should've spoken to those who were willing to speak to us.

"That I consider to be my mistake — a very, very big mistake."

Should we speak to them now?

"I'm too far to lecture anybody now."

What other mistakes?

"The international force should've gone out of Kabul when people outside Kabul were begging to have them.

"All we were asking for is 3,000 to 5,000 more troops. But we never got them. If we had, we'd have done much better ...

"Then the Afghan administration did not project itself with confidence and care for people outside of Kabul and the main cities. They should have."

What else went wrong?

"The Americans, Donald Rumsfeld in particular, were not interested in nation-building. He said they were there to fight the enemy: `We're going after the Al Qaeda and we're not interested in rebuilding Afghanistan.'

"The Americans turned around slowly in 2003. But by that time, we had lost a hell of a lot of time."

What should be done now?

"Fight drug production better, fight corruption better, and have the much better-qualified Afghans that are emerging to run the local administrations.

"Get along better with Pakistan. It has been ridiculous that the relationship has not been better. I am encouraged that Gen. (Pervez) Musharraf was in Kabul the other day."

What should Canada do?

"I know that Canadians are nervous and are wondering, `Why should our troops remain there?'

"But I think if international solidarity means anything, you have to be there.

"Second, terrorism is a terrible thing and you need to help contain it — not by killing terrorists, which is what's happening now, but by preventing people from becoming terrorists."

Translation: Stay in Afghanistan. But forget the American-style war on terrorism. Concentrate on helping the people. The solution is mostly political, and that might entail talking to the right elements in the Taliban

You only have to read a handful of articles by Haroon Siddiqui to spot the agenda he's pushing. You will also pick out the misinformation, skewing of detail and the outright fallacy of his imaginary facts. As soon as I see his name in the by-line, I give the article no more than a cursory glance till I pick up indication of the above, then I quit reading.
Expert Advice

I'd love to know what makes this person an expert!
>With no easy answers available, I talked to two knowledgeable people, veteran diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi and Afghan Canadian filmmaker Nelofer Pazira.

With no easy answers available, he solicited the opinions of a sample set of people numbering two - that's the hallmark of a hardworking, serious researcher for sure.  If someone came to offer you "expert advice on Canada" based on a discussion with a foreign diplomat and a filmmaker born in Canada but no longer living there, what weight would you give his advice?  Coulda, shoulda, woulda, yadda.
Shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act - http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/info/act-e.html#rid-33409

NATO's Afghan Body Count, Published in Press, Raises Skepticism
Associated Press, 15 Sept 06

NATO's estimate of Taliban killed this month has created skepticism and worry in Afghanistan, with local officials saying that either the militant force has grown bigger than imagined -- or too many innocent Afghans are being killed.

NATO says its forces, backed by the Afghan army, have killed more than 500 Taliban militants near Afghanistan's main southern city of Kandahar in Operation Medusa, a sweep launched Sept. 2.

The figures, if accurate, make it the deadliest battle since U.S. warplanes bombed the extremist militia, host of Osama bin Laden, out of power in late 2001.

"If they kill that many, the Taliban must have thousands of fighters on that front," said Mohammed Arbil, a former Northern Alliance commander. In the recent past, Taliban units have been described in terms of dozens or hundreds at most.

But NATO has stood by its battle assessments as solid, even conservative.

One official with the military command, called the International Security Assistance Force, said internally circulated estimates of militant dead were more than double the tally released to journalists.

"We'd rather have a lower figure that we can back up than a higher one that stretches your willingness to trust us," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

NATO says the high toll is due to its superior firepower, including fighter jets and artillery, compared to the Taliban militia's roadside bombs and assault rifles. It says it avoids civilian casualties by warning residents to evacuate.

The inability of journalists to reach the area has made it virtually impossible to check the figures.

Hundreds of families displaced from the war zone, in the Panjwayi district, are also in the dark, and don't even know if their homes are still standing.

The onslaught has dispelled any doubts that NATO, which recently took over in southern Afghanistan, is willing to use overwhelming military force. But Afghans, while eager for the Taliban uprising to end, have mixed feelings.

In the capital Kabul, there's disbelief that so many guerrillas could be killed and citizens escape unscathed. In Kandahar city, closer to the battle, there's dismay over the intensity of the fighting, and calls for peace talks.

"Who are these Taliban? They are Afghans," said Mira Jan, a displaced 42-year-old grape farmer from Panjwayi. "NATO and the government must convene a ulema (Muslim clerics') council with tribal elders and convince the Taliban to stop fighting."

By all measures, the Taliban have stepped up their attacks this year. NATO forces that took charge of security in the south last month expected hit-and-run guerrilla tactics, but instead have often faced well-organized militant forces that stand and fight.

Nowhere has that been more apparent that in Panjwayi, a rural district of dried-mud houses scattered among orchards where hundreds of Taliban militants had massed, posing a threat to Kandahar city, the former stronghold of the hard-line Islamic regime, just 15 miles away.

NATO launched Operation Medusa to wipe out the militants.

When NATO announced by the second day of the offensive that its artillery and airstrikes had killed more than 200 militants, skeptical journalists without access to the action -- following a government warning that anyone straying off the main road could be shot as suspected Taliban -- pressed for details: where were the bodies and how are they counted?

"Your know what you can see through a telescope? We have those kind of capabilities all over the battle field," said NATO spokesman Maj. Scott Lundy. "We are reliant on every soldier on the battlefield to feed up the information that they have, from what they have seen through weapons' sights and with other surveillance assets. It all gets thrown into the mix."

Lundy said such estimates are "imprecise," but stressed that NATO makes every effort to make them as accurate as possible and usually goes with a conservative number. "We would be quite happy to speak about military success without going into the detail, but it's what the media want," he said.

To date, NATO has reported at least 517 militants dead compared to 20 from its force, 14 of them in an accidental plane crash.

The Taliban has denied suffering such high casualties. Neither side has offered details about how many militants have been wounded.

According to an Associated Press count based on reports from U.S., NATO and Afghan officials, 2,800 people have died so far this year in violence nationwide, including militants and civilians -- about 1,300 more than the toll for all of 2005.

Andrew Krepinevich, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, said that given the circumstances in which the Taliban had massed in one place, the figures given by NATO were plausible and could well be an underestimation, because of the effort the Islamic militia makes to bury their dead quickly.

He also said that given NATO's aim to create secure zones, they had little incentive to inflate the death toll.

"I have no suspicion they are trying to widely inflate the casualty numbers. They are not trying to measure success that way anyway," Krepinevich said in a telephone interview.

"They would be trying to measure success in terms of the population feeling secure, is reconstruction proceeding, is commerce growing."

Insecurity has clearly prevented any progress on those counts. And the alliance's success in battle has induced little optimism among Afghans that NATO -- struggling to marshal enough forces for its mission -- is close to defeating the resurgent Taliban.

"All these bombardments leave behind a bad name for the international community for killing Afghans," said Taj Mohammed Wardak, a former Afghan interior minister. "It will only create more motivation for revenge."
This article, by Christie Blatchford, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act, is from today’s (15 Sep 06) Globe and Mail:

We debate, with guns blazing
But is it informed debate? There is a serious lack of understanding about Canada's mission to Afghanistan


I spent yesterday morning at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, where I was one of four journalists on a media panel that was part of a senior officers' course.

It was more time "in the company of soldiers," to borrow the title of the latest book from U.S. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Atkinson, and I confess I tried to put my audience at ease with a brief rendition of the chorus from The Prick of Steel, one of my late father's air force songs.

(Well, I do love any opportunity to sing the thing.)

I don't think I am betraying any secrets by saying that for all that the relationship between the press and military is sometimes confrontational, and is always fraught with the potential for peril (both real and imagined), the soldiers in the crowd and reporters on the panel have one thing in common.

I don't purport to speak for my colleagues -- least of all for the CBC's Carol Off, whom I got to meet yesterday for the first time after years of admiring her work and who is one of this country's most accomplished journalists and the author of, among others, The Ghosts of Medak Pocket.

But I think it fair to say that to varying degrees, most of us on the panel are frustrated by the lack of understanding about Canada's mission to Afghanistan; by the paucity, not of debate, but of informed debate; by the large and self-serving political apparatus that stands between our two groups; and by what appears to be our collective and separate inability to do very much about any of it.

The press in this country is, for the first time in decades, actually covering, in significant numbers, the Canadian Forces in action, and from my informal reading and viewing, are doing at least a reasonable -- if, as always in our business, uneven -- job of it. Some of us have been embedded with the troops based at Kandahar Air Field; a smaller but growing number of us have been on the front lines, such as these are in the modern war; I think it safe to say that, in the main, this has been a hugely successful venture.

Ordinary soldiers are more available to the press than ever before in my lifetime, and they are, in my experience, not at all shy about speaking forthrightly about what it is they're doing and why they're there. And for the most part, I think, we in my business are fairly faithfully painting the picture as it is in southern Afghanistan.

Yet we are failing miserably, somehow, in getting the message across.

Public opinion polls repeatedly show that Canadians are confused about why we are in Afghanistan, that they fear young soldiers are dying in vain, and that they have difficulty distinguishing between Afghanistan and Iraq and, more generally, among Afghanistan, Iraq and the countries of the larger Middle East.

Anecdotally, most reporters have had experiences that echo what the polls say, as have most soldiers, I think. For all the words and miles of tape the former have produced, for all the intelligent comments the latter have made from the lowliest private all the way up through the ranks to colonels, many of our fellow citizens do not appear to know that Afghanistan is a mission approved by the wider international community, with about three dozen NATO and non-NATO countries contributing to the effort (including the likes of plucky Romania, whose troops fearlessly muck about in Cold War-era vehicles) and specifically sanctioned by the United Nations.

Those who do know, and who, in the normal course, give their knee-jerk blessing to such UN-approved ventures, pay the UN stamp of approval here little heed -- even suggesting in one breath that Canada pull out of this UN mission and, in the next, that Canada should be sending troops to another UN mission, such as Lebanon. It makes little sense.

This problem is not of the military's creating and, while I feel we in the press are somewhat responsible -- I feel I fail the soldiers damn near every time I write about them because I've yet to properly capture their marvellous ability to switch gears, for instance -- the real culprit is Ottawa, that is, the elected leaders.

It was the Liberal government that first sent the troops to Afghanistan, a decision reaffirmed, the mission extended, by the Stephen Harper government.

There was little debate, even in the House of Commons, but then the House of Commons rarely hosts what could be properly called debate; instead, there is grandstanding, sniping and posing.

And since then, the Harper government has done a simply dreadful job of explaining the mission. As Ms. Off noted yesterday, when Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor recently deigned to utter a few words about it, he was in Australia. And when Mr. Harper spoke this week on the Sept. 11 anniversary, he made the correct link -- Canada is in Afghanistan because the 9/11 terrorists trained there -- but failed to deliver anything resembling a statesmanlike or ringing explanation of the good we are doing by being there.

I mentioned that flat address the next day to a Canadian officer I know.

I think I said, "Someone should be offering a robust defence of this mission. It's defensible." He corrected me: "It's advocate-able."

Mr. Harper has in Rick Hillier, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the best natural salesman in the country. Yet the CDS appears to have been muzzled and, in his absence, neither Mr. Harper nor Mr. O'Connor is stepping up to the plate.

This brings me, in a roundabout way, to an event tomorrow in Toronto.

The polls do reveal one heartening result, that whatever ambivalence Canadians may have about the mission and despite their confusion, they appear to at least grasp what a tremendous group of soldiers we have there. And tomorrow, on the lawn of Queen's Park in Toronto, a memorial to Canada's veterans, all of them, will be unveiled. Veterans and the public alike are welcome.

Best of all, there's a parade first -- an old-fashioned military parade, with bands and pipes and horses and marching troops, starting about noon at the Fort York Armoury. I was in Ottawa last week, where the political animals reign. No wonder I crave the company of soldiers again.


As an initial aside I regard the CBC’s Carol Off as a polemicist, and I suspect, from reading between the lines of Blatchford’s article that she demonstrated that in Toronto – being more concerned with where O’Connor said something that what he actually said.

It seems clear enough to me that Stephen Harper and his circle of hacks and flacks need to read more – maybe, especially, the recent Army.ca editorial.  Blatchford is right: Canadian are confused and the Government of Canada and the Prime Minister of Canada are doing little to clear the air.

I have wondered elsewhere in these fora if Harper et cie really have a coherent view on this mission.  I fear that, for the (some? many?) Conservatives, Afghanistan is nothing more than a political stick with which they can beat the Liberals.  If that’s the case then we, Canadians, are being ill served.

milnewstbay said:
NATO's estimate of Taliban killed this month has created skepticism and worry in Afghanistan, with local officials saying that either the militant force has grown bigger than imagined -- or too many innocent Afghans are being killed.

I wonder if there is any way to tell when one is a Taliban, or if one is a drug dealer?  There is so much focus on the Taliban, and the Al Qaeda connection that the drug industry gets forgotten in the static.  Drug dealers have virtually unlimited resources in money and arms.  In all likelyhood, there is some collaboration between the Taliban and the local drug cartels.  I also strikes me as very possible that the drug lords would arm and organize a bunch of hapless locals.  Give them a few hundred dollars, some heroin and say "go attack those guys.  We'll pay you $100 for every helmet you collect" or something to that effect.  Dude sees an opportunity to make a years salary after one successful attack, and has listened to the Taliban propaganda (they are weak, they will run, they have no heart, etc).  Thus creating a disposable mercenary force.  Not really Taliban, but still needing to be taken out when they come at you with guns-a-blazin'. 
So the Taliban numbers may have been accurate all along, but more guys are getting killed for being opportunist, pushing the numbers up. 
Just speculation.  Not being offered up as actual knowledge.
good point zipperhead- atleast  1 of our Tic's was against druglord fighters, big numbers and well armed, and busted 15 million in black tar herion once they'd been wiped out

they are all in it together especially as zipperhead mentioned, when the opportunity rises to combine efforts
boondocksaint said:
good point zipperhead- atleast  1 of our Tic's was against druglord fighters, big numbers and well armed, and busted 15 million in black tar herion once they'd been wiped out

they are all in it together especially as zipperhead mentioned, when the opportunity rises to combine efforts

Nice grab.  At least you can feel good that if any of them got away, they probably got killed for losing that much product.  Win/win.  ^-^

GG Defends Canada's Mission in Afghanistan
Josh Pringle
Monday, September 18, 2006

Governor General Michaelle Jean says withdrawing from Afghanistan would be "refusing to help a people in danger."

Jean is defending Canada's role in Afghanistan.

Jean told Canadian Press that given the recent spike in violence, it is important for Canadians to show solidarity with the Afghan people, adding "at this time, now, when it's difficult, we're seeing the human cost of our commitment."

32 Canadians have died in Afghanistan since 2002. 25 Canadian soldiers have been killed this year.

Jean says she never imagined that she would have to attend so many funerals for Canadian soldiers.

But the Governor General says she sees no other way of ending the Taliban's violence in Afghanistan, "these confrontations in the Kandahar region are one thing, but we also know what the power of the Taliban was like."

I am actually glad to hear that our head of state (or her representative here in Canada, I can never figure that one out) is coming out so strongly in this case.