When the troops leave Kandahar, the civvies go, too. “When Canada’s combat troops leave Kandahar this summer, all Canadian government workers in the South will depart, too. The thinning out of the combat mission — which still numbers well more than 3,000 soldiers — is expected to begin sometime late this spring. The wind-down of the civilian mission, which began several months before combat troops arrived in the spring of 2006, has already begun. Only 60 Canadian civilians are now based in Kandahar, down from 75 last summer. Starting next month, more civilians will be catching flights for home. “When I was preparing to come here it was clear — this was the last rotation of civilians in the context of completing what the government set out to do,” said Canada’s top diplomat in the South, Tim Martin, who transferred leadership of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team to an American diplomat last month ….”
Remember these stats, from a few weeks ago, showing the number of Canadians killed and wounded in action in Afghanistan dropped for 2010 from the previous year? Another story has popped up about the numbers: “For many, any death involving members of our Armed Forces is a bitter pill to swallow. But when soldiers are involved in a combat mission, such as what’s currently ongoing in Afghanistan, casualties occur. It’s an unfortunate fact of life in a war zone. Although it’s small comfort to families and friends who have lost loved ones over the last year in central Asia, 2010 actually produced the least number of deaths since 2005. According to statistics released in January by the Department of National Defence, 2010 saw 16 of our soldiers die in Afghanistan – 14 were killed in action and two more lost their lives as a result of other circumstances. The drop in Canadian deaths can be attributed to three factors – the build-up of coalition troops in southern Afghanistan, a change in the Canadian area of operations, and an increased involvement by Afghan National Army personnel and police ….” If you’ve spotted a CBC.ca story on these stats, please share a link, because I haven’t seen one yet.
Taliban assassination via motorcycle. “Day and night, Taliban assassins on motorbikes hunt their victims, often taunting them over the telephone before gunning them down in the city’s streets. They are working their way through lists, meticulously killing off people fingered as collaborators with the Afghan government or its foreign backers. Unlike suicide bombers, who make headlines with periodic attacks that take themselves out along with their targets, most insurgent assassins escape as quickly, and anonymously, as they strike. They slip quietly back into Kandahar’s shadows, still in the hunt, sewing terror with murders that number in the hundreds each year. Each one sends a chilling message to anyone who doesn’t fall in line: You may be the next to go down. The execution could even come in broad daylight, close to home, in front of your children ….”
“Convicted Canadian war criminal Omar Khadr will be seeking clemency in hopes of an early release from his prison cell in Guantanamo Bay and a quicker return to Canada, The Canadian Press has learned. An application which could seek remedies ranging from an outright acquittal to a commuting of his eight-year sentence is set to go before the head of the military commissions within a few weeks. Speaking from Memphis, Tenn., Khadr’s Pentagon-appointed lawyer Lt. Col. Jon Jackson confirmed that Khadr’s defence team was finalizing the application to the convening authority. “We haven’t made any final decision on what we’re going to request,” Jackson said Wednesday. “We’re (also) currently in the process of determining what specific areas of law we’re going to address.” The clemency application is expected to be submitted in about two weeks, and a decision could come shortly after ….” A bit more from QMI/Sun Media here.