A soldier's life, outside the wire
U of C prof lives with Canadian soldiers in Southern Afghanistan
Sarah Malik, Gauntlet News (University of Alberta), 23 Nov 06
It isn't very often there are soldiers sitting at the front of a university classroom. But,
for Dr. Anne Irwin's presentation on Canadian soldiers' lives 'outside the Wire,' there
they were, swiveling in their seats, still slightly sunburnt from their tour in Afghanistan,
their berets respectfully set aside. An anthropology professor at the University of
Calgary and the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute chair in civil-military
relations, Irwin presented her observations on the lives of Canadian soldiers while
she was embedded with them on their missions in Kandahar, Afghanistan. She
spoke at the U of C Thur., Nov. 9. "The story I am going to tell today is not the
story of the drama and excitement, but of the daily grind of wondering when you
are next going to get a chance to change your socks or to sleep for more than a
couple of hours," she said. Irwin detailed the daily lives of a select group of
Canadian soldiers who spend most of their time in the dangerous, Taliban-infested
areas outside the wire of KAF ....
Pak not doing enough to stop Taliban, says Canada's FM
DailyIndia.com, 24 Nov 06
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay has said that Pakistan was not
doing enough to fight terrorism, and that it must do more to stop the flow of Taliban
fighters crossing the Pak-Afghan border. The minister said this while appearing as
part of committee hearings seeking an update on Canada's military mission in
Afghanistan. Quoting media reports, MacKay told the Canadian Parliament's
Defence Committee that nearly 30,000 Pukhtuns freely criss-crossed the
international border each day. "Pakistan must seek out and arrest senior
Taliban officials, improve border security, sign and ratify United Nations
conventions on terrorism, bring in stronger money-laundering laws and prevent
the exploitation by insurgents of refugee camps in Afghanistan," the Dawn quoted
the minister as telling the defence committee ....
A resister without a war
Is he a conscientious objector if he was never bound for combat?
Michael Friscolanti, Macleans, 23 Nov 06
Francisco Juarez is the newest voice of Canada's anti-war movement, and understandably
so. A former navy seaman turned army reservist, the 35-year-old famously quit the military
because he couldn't stomach the thought of deploying to Afghanistan. Free to speak his mind,
Juarez now spends much of his time travelling the country, telling crowds large and small why
the rest of Canada's troops don't belong in Kandahar, either. Journalists have dubbed him
the "first Afghan war resister" -- a title he happily accepts. "My ethics guide me," Juarez says,
"and I followed them." Peace activists couldn't buy a better spokesman, a real-life soldier who
saw the light at the end of the propaganda tunnel. "If we send Canadian Forces members to
work and possibly die in another part of the world, we owe them a debate," Juarez says.
"There needs to be a broader discussion within our society about what we are doing, and
I think the Prime Minister needs to be a bit more honest about the objectives." But others
-- including officials at the Department of National Defence -- believe it is Juarez, not Stephen
Harper, who needs to start telling the truth. "From my point of view, he doesn't have any
credibility," says Commander Denise Laviolette, a spokeswoman for the chief of military
personnel. "He wasn't resisting anything because he wasn't even in line to go."....
More News on CAN in AFG here
Cost of Afghan mission keeps rising in federal tally
CBC.ca, 24 Nov 06
Ottawa has earmarked an extra $515 million for Canada's military mission in Afghanistan
in the next bookkeeping year, keeping it on track, by one outside estimate, to reach a cost
of about $9 billion by the end of the current Canadian commitment in 2009. The figures
do not count human costs, including the deaths of 42 Canadian soldiers and a diplomat since
2002. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's fall fiscal update, released on Thursday, lists a total of
$721 million in military costs beyond those projected in the May federal budget. Of that sum,
$206 million is to be spent in the current fiscal year — which ends next March 31 — and
$515 million in 2007-08. The $206 million figure appears to reflect spending announced
in the government's supplementary estimates in October, when more than $200 million was
set aside to bolster the Afghanistan force, partly by sending Leopard C2 tanks to give it
extra firepower ....
AP Interview: NATO chief says all allies will provide emergency support in Afghanistan
Associated Press, via International Herald Tribune, 24 Nov 06
NATO's secretary general said all 26 member nations will allow their troops in Afghanistan
to provide emergency support to allied units anywhere in the country, despite criticism that
some are refusing to authorize commanders to send their soldiers into more dangerous regions.
"In case of emergency, every single ally will come to the assistance and help of every other ally,"
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told The Associated Press. "I'm confident that is the case, because I am
confident that all 26 allies have exactly the same interpretation of what solidarity means." A
NATO summit next Tuesday and Wednesday in Riga, Latvia is expected to focus on the
alliance's mission in Afghanistan. Although all the allies have troops in the 32,800-strong
force, Britain, Canada, the United States and others in the front line of the battle in the
Taliban's southern heartland have complained that Germany, Italy, Spain and France
are keeping their troops in the more peaceful north and west ....
Afghanistan rages while NATO deals in caveats
David Common, CBC.ca, 24 Nov 06
.... In democratic societies, politicians are, of course, very careful about their military
commitments, especially when elections are in the offing. Insurgent forces in Afghanistan
know this. They will and are using it to their advantage, hoping to break the will of NATO
nations. Ultimately, those populations must decide whether the investment is worth it,
whether a foreign influence can create stability. And politicians are the salespeople. To
protect themselves, those western politicians have draped many of their militaries in
Afghanistan with caveats, basically rules on what their forces can and cannot do.
Germany, for instance, limits its soldiers to operations in the relatively calm north. Others
won't let their aircraft fly at night, or be used for anything besides humanitarian aid delivery.
Some won't let soldiers from other nations ride in their vehicles .... As the commander
on the ground, it means you have fewer resources to be able to deal with specific
problems. The most cited example was the great surge of violence in the south of
Afghanistan this fall, which Canadian and British soldiers had to confront alone since
other forces could not shift to the south, due to their caveats. Not surprisingly, NATO
is trying to get rid of these caveats. Gen Jones says they are targeting about 50 of them.
And the alliance isn't alone. Canadian officials say they have lobbied every NATO nation
to eliminate their caveats or provide more troops. So far, only Poland has agreed to send
in extra soldiers, though that deployment was already expected. Privately, NATO officials
say it will likely be months before any country might consider lifting its caveats. But, Jones
adds, the alliance's mission to Kosovo suffered the same problem and eventually everyone
eliminated their caveats and completed the task at hand ....
Germany won't lift caveats on Afghan force
United Press International, 24 Nov 06
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday said Germany will not allow its 2,700 troops
in Afghanistan to be deployed elsewhere in the country. U.S. diplomatic and military officials
are pressing NATO allies and 11 other countries who contribute more than 34,000 troops to
the Afghan International Security and Assistance Force to lift some 50 individual
national caveats on their use. Germany is the main offender: It limits its troops only to
support the German provincial reconstruction team in the north. Meanwhile, NATO
allies Canada and the Netherlands have been engaged in pitched fighting in southern
Afghanistan against a resurgent Taliban, with British and American troops coming to their
aid as reinforcements. Merkel addressed the German parliament this week, saying that
moving German troops out of the north would put stability there at risk. Some 40 percent
of the Afghan population live in the German-secured area ....
Are the Germans Stationed in Afghanistan Cowards?
Susanne Koelbl, Der Spiegel (DEU), 24 Nov 06
Southern Afghanistan is far from having been pacified -- a bloody war with the Taliban
has erupted there. German troops have picked a relatively comfortable spot for
themselves in the north of the country. Because they have avoided deadly fighting,
they have been labeled "cowards" by the Americans and Brits. But are they? David
Byers peers forth cautiously at the world from behind his narrow, steel-rimmed glasses.
He's combed his short brown hair so it fits neatly under his beret. His mouth is fixed in
a serious expression, and Byers looks as if he has a lot of questions on his mind. His
visage is part of a photo of his batallion, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
Private Byers was 22 years old when he was first sent into the field -- in southern
Afghanistan, more than 16,000 kilometers (9,942 miles) from his hometown of Espanola
in southern Canada. His mission was to help bring democracy and political stability to the
land of the Hindu Kush mountains -- a land where war has raged since before his birth ....
U.S.-led troops kill 7 Taliban in Afghan battle
Reuters, 24 Nov 06
U.S.-led coalition troops clashed with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan on Friday,
killing seven of the militants, the U.S. military said. Afghanistan has this year seen
the most intense violence since U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban's radical Islamic
government from power in 2001. The level of violence has taken Afghanistan's allies
by surprise but the fighting has eased off in recent weeks. One soldier from the
U.S.-led coalition force was wounded in the battle on Friday in Kandahar province
in the south which involved artillery, mortars and close air support, the U.S. military
said in a statement. There were no casualties among civilians, it said. No Taliban
official could be reached for comment. Afghanistan's separate NATO force said
one of its soldiers was killed and one wounded when militants fired a rocket at a
NATO patrol in Ghazni province, to the southwest of the capital, Kabul, on
Thursday. It did not give their nationalities ....