Posts Tagged ‘CanWest’
The Taliban’s info-machine has chosen to highlight some Coalition politics in its latest statement (Voice of Jihad here, PDF at Scribd.com here). The Taliban say it’s good to see the Canadians, Aussies, and Dutch do what the Afghan people ‘really want’:
After the dissolution of Dutch government following its parliament’s hot discussion over the American war in Afghanistan, now Canada and Australia have decided to respect views of their people for unconditional withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan …. After the dissolution of the Dutch government over the mission in Afghanistan. , where the parliament was not ready to extend the military mission in the country , now the Australian and Canadian public have mounted pressure on their rulers to pay respect to the people’s demand for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and notify America and NATO of their decision ….
In addition to highlighting the departure of various Coalition members from Afghanistan as a general way to slip a wedge between allies, the Taliban make an even more specific reference to the strategy of divide-and-conquer:
… There are many examples which indicate America overtly and covertly works against the stance of other countries because of its arrogance. They hurl hurdles in their ways. He further says whenever, French, Canada and German succeed in winning the hearts and minds of Afghans in a given area of Afghanistan through reconstruction work and other humantarisian (sic.) activities, the Americans heavily bombard that area; they torture the residents and launch night raids on their houses . Thus they intentionally create resentments and wrath among the people …. The Coalition members want to pull out of the country one after another because they know, the current war in Afghanistan is only aimed at securing interests of Americans and Britains while other countries are being used as fodder of the cannon ….
I don’t think this will make said countries reconsider their decisions to leave. Still, the inter-Coalition animus is not exactly zero – note this from a Facebook posting by embed writer/blogger Michael Yon, who is currently in Afghanistan:
Task Force Kandahar, responsible for security of the bridge that was blown up on Monday, happens to be under Canadian command. This is causing friction. The Canadian government has clearly signaled that it will quit Afghanistan, yet a Canadian General is commanding US combat forces and resources — all while allowing… a strategically important bridge to be blown up …. Our combat soldiers should not be commanded from a country that is quitting the fight …. With our next big offensive set for Kandahar, command should be with British and U.S. forces. Canada needs to step out of the way.
As for Yon, while he may be channeling what the troops say on the ground, this and other foreign bashing (like his work on the Spanish in Afghanistan) don’t help Coalition relations. His efforts have been ably rebutted by various other observers: an embed with CanWest News Service here, as well as a former Canadian OMLT trainer at the Flit blog here, here, and here.
As for the Taliban, we’ll have to see whether they continue to attempt to drive wedges between ISAF.
It’s still going on – this, from CanWest News Service:
A 12-year-old boy caught in the act Friday as he put a homemade bomb under a road in the volatile Zhari District grabbed a baby as a human shield to protect himself from attack from the United States helicopter that spotted him.
The incident, in an area where U.S. forces operate under Canadian command, appears to be part of a Taliban strategy to use youngsters as lookouts or human shields, or to carry out attacks, because they know NATO rules of engagement make troops extremely reluctant to open fire in such situations.
There have been 29 incidents in which children have helped commit attacks or otherwise abetted the Taliban in Afghanistan’s four southern provinces since March, according to a document provided by the Canadian military. Eight of the incidents have taken place this month.
Among them were three blasts in Kandahar in the past few weeks in which as many as 12 Afghan children were blown up as they were being taught how to make or place improvised explosive devices – the greatest killer of coalition troops in Afghanistan.
Good to see at least one mainstream media story on this. How much will this by picked up by other media outlets? Or “progressive” bloggers? My prediction:
Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff has signed a letter to the editor regarding recent coverage of the issue – here it is, for the record:
“The Canadian Forces are made up of some of the most professional and courageous troops in the world, and Canadians have every reason to be proud of their hard work and efforts in protecting Afghans.
I wish to make it clear that, as the Chief of the Defence Staff, I hold myself and all members of the armed forces to the highest standard of professional conduct. Indeed, the legitimacy of the Canadian military derives from its embodiment of the values, beliefs and laws of the nation we defend. We conduct our operations in compliance with our international legal obligations.
Equally, we expect members of Afghanistan’s security forces to meet their legal obligations, both national and international. Canada’s military and police personnel in Afghanistan are mentoring their Afghan counterparts about the importance of professional conduct, including compliance with the rule of law.
Only by demonstrating the highest standards of conduct will the Afghan security forces earn the trust of the Afghan people. While the responsibility for complying with their national and international legal obligations rests with the Afghans, I expect members of the Canadian Forces to bring breaches of the law by Afghan security forces to the attention of the appropriate authorities.
Once the Board of Inquiry referred to by Mr. Pugliese is completed, its findings and recommendations will be thoroughly reviewed and appropriate action taken.
I have every confidence that the members of the Canadian Forces, in the face of a very challenging security environment, are performing their very best to uphold our values.
General W.J. Natynczyk
Chief of the Defence Staff”
OK, here’s the almost breathless lead paragraph from a CanWest news service story from Afghanistan:
“Canada wrapped up a secret mission this week that provides the country’s military a greater intelligence role in Afghanistan – literally from a Canadian perspective.
Two Canadian Aurora long-range patrol planes have spent the last month flying over southern Afghanistan on highly precise grid-like routes, snapping quick-fire pictures of the land below….”
Another announcement showing Canada’s drift away from the mainly military nature of its mission in Afghanistan – the naming of a top cop:
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, William Elliott, today announced the appointment of Assistant Commissioner Graham Muir as the first Canadian Police Commander (CPC) in Afghanistan …. The appointment of the senior Canadian civilian police officer in Afghanistan will provide expertise at the national level to strengthen ANP capabilities. He will be stationed at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul and, as a member of the Embassy’s senior management team, will provide technical expertise and advice to Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan on the reform of the ANP ….
Translation: another civilian head office presence.
Meanwhile, more of the ongoing saga that is the reported tug-of-war between DFAIT and National Defence on their respective roles in Afghanistan, from Matt Fisher of CanWest News Service.