- A Canadian Forces media advisory says Canada’s next contingent (a battle group based on troops from the Royal 22nd Regiment from Valcartier, Quebec) is beginning its deployment to Afghanistan – bonne chance, and stay safe!
- Canadian troops in Kandahar are now working for a new American boss, according to the Canadian Press. Meanwhile, the outgoing commander of Regional Command South, British General Nick Carter, is quoted by UK media saying that squeezing Taliban supply lines is making it harder for the insurgents to make IEDs: “The price of ammonium nitrate has increased 10 times. Basic IED components by 11 times. With these constraints and the economic impact of the poppy blight this year, we believe it is difficult for them to go on the offensive.”
- One sign of success in Kandahar, according to a story posted to the Government of Canada’s Afghan mission page? “Increased participation at local shuras shows that people are turning to their government to get things done. In southern Afghanistan, that means security operations are achieving a positive effect.” I hope so, but I’d be happy to see comments from those more in the know about such things.
- “It is in the early spring that they are going to have to start looking inward” – this from a Canadian officer just back from Afghanistan, quoted by Postmedia News, regarding how Canada will “rapidly begin winding down as much as three months before a July 1, 2011 deadline set by the House of Commons”.
- A reminder that it’s not JUST soldiers working hard in Afghanistan, from the Toronto Star: ” “Some things you just can’t change, so you have to make the best of it,” added the Jamaican-born police officer. “Most people can’t see it, but what we’re doing here is great.” (Toronto Police Service Constable Toronto police Constable Phillip Sinclair, 36) is one of 32 Canadian police, including several Toronto police officers, working against the clock in Kandahar to help the Afghan police force shape up before Canada’s military mission is set to end next July….”
- Is everyone in Cabinet happy with the Omar Khadr plea bargain, including serving part of his sentence here? Apparently not, if you believe this from this blog post by a Sun Media senior correspondent on Parliament Hill: “…. Conservative cabinet ministers are not happy with the Khadr deal and the reality that he will be returned to Canada next year and free shortly thereafter. On Monday when cabinet gathered to prepare for question period tempers flared. According to sources at the meeting and those close to cabinet ministers, there was yelling and accusations. Top Conservatives are also not happy with the way the Khadr deal was handled. The deal appears to have been sealed while Prime Minister Stephen Harper was travelling in Europe and there is the suggestion that foreign affairs officials used this time to offer and accept more than Harper was willing to. Diplomatic notes were exchanged with the Americans on October 23rd in the middle of Harper’s trip to Switzerland and the Ukraine. The question now is, was Harper fully aware? ….” My guess: would something this big go down WITHOUT the PM’s approval, no matter where he was in the world? If he could be reached, he could provide input.
- Canadian Press says: “A trove of leaked internal Veterans Affairs documents suggests bureaucrats knew from the beginning that a new system of benefits would mean less cash for injured soldiers with one analysis projecting savings of up to $40 million per year….” And who’s fault is it? According to the Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn, quoted by CP as well, “the Conservative government is only cleaning up the mess the Liberals left behind when it comes to benefits — or lack of them — for injured soldiers….” BTW, CP, any chance of sharing some of those documents with the public?
- Blog Watch: “UBC Student Brian Platt travels to Afghanistan for a 10-day trip to explore how the country has changed, and the role students and universities are playing”. Check it out – it’s great stuff. Meanwhile, my fave new acronym describing non-governmental organizations (oxymoronically) organized by governments: GONGO (Government-organized NGO). More on that, and how Afghanistan’s new Youth High Peace Council(link to ISAF news release) might be considered one, here at the Afghanistan Analysts Network.
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: Taliban claims responsibility for more than 30 killed in Kandahar, Zabul attacks
Enjoy your day!