Canada Kicks Ass

Cdn. troops receive notice of Afghan mission
Date: Tuesday, May 06 2003
Topic: Canadian Politics

About 1,800 Canadian troops have been officially notified they are going to Afghanistan in August to help maintain order as part of an international force.
The notification, which comes almost three months after Canada committed to sending a large peacekeeping force, was confirmed Monday by Defence Minister John McCallum.

McCallum also said Canada has formally offered to take over leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) during the Canadian contingent's second six-month rotation beginning next February.
The Canadian contribution to the 22-country, NATO-led force in Kabul will include three main elements:

  • A battle group comprised mainly of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, out of Petawawa, Ont., under the command of Lt.-Col. Don Denne.

  • A brigade headquarters, the core of which will be comprised of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signals Squadron, out of Petawawa, under the command of Col. Peter Devlin.

  • A headquarters group, whose composition has yet to be decided.

    Logistics, reconnaissance, engineering, law enforcement and medical personnel will come primarily from Petawawa, a military source said.
    About 25 Canadian reconnaissance and liaison personnel are already in Kabul preparing for the mission. The rest of the troops will be transported by aircraft, with equipment being sent by ship.
    Coyote reconnaissance and other armoured vehicles are being sent by rail from a major exercise in Wainwright, Alta., to the port of Montreal for shipment, a military official said.

  • The mission will take the troops from stifling heat to harsh winter cold, and expose them to random attacks. ISAF troops have been subjected to frequent attacks in recent months from Taliban and al-Qaida fugitives, and loyalists of rebel leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
    At least 14 ISAF members were killed in its first year of existence, half of them in a German helicopter crash.
    The 5,000-member force is United Nations sanctioned but not UN led. NATO agreed to take over that job last week.
    Germany and the Netherlands took charge of the force on Feb. 10, replacing Turkey.

    McCallum said that by taking over during its second six-month stint, Canada "gets the benefit of the German experience."
    "Then we will have a third country coming in our second six-month period," he said outside the Commons.
    The force's mandate includes security for the administration of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose year-long rule has so far been effectively limited to the Kabul area.

    Canadian troops will also play a key role in security at the loya jurga, a grand council of religious and political leaders being held in Kabul in October to draft a new constitution for Afghanistan.
    They are also expected to play a major security role during Afghan elections next year.

    Source: Canadian Press AND CTV NEWS

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