Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, told CBC News there will be Canadian troops in Afghanistan after parliament’s mandate expires, though “exponentially fewer.”
“I would caution you against saying dozens or hundreds or a thousand, there will be exponentially fewer,” Soudas said.
“Whether there’s 20 or 60 or 80 or 100, they will not be conducting combat operations.”
Soudas said the government would shift focus from combat operations and in-the-field training of Afghan police and soldiers to a development and reconstruction mission.
The military’s training mission will continue, but it will take place in the safety of protected facilities, he said.
The combat-mentoring role currently undertaken by Canadian troops would end, according to the plan.
“You can do training in training facilities,” Soudas said. “And when I say training, I mean Canadian soldiers will not be doing combat training of Afghan soldiers in harm’s way.“
I’m certain our troops will do a first-rate job delivering any training, no matter where it’s done, but what will this do to the relationship between the trainee and the trainer?
How about the potential for Taliban Info-Machine messaging to the effect of, “they come to help, and send you to die?”
I’d love anyone who’s been there, done that to share their ideas on this one.