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”