And so it begins – Canada starts to plan for Afghanistan troop pull out


Canada's Chief of Defense Staff begins planning of Canada's military pull out of Afghanistan (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Canadian Chief of Defense Staff Walter Natynczyk (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

With the end date of 2011, Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk has ordered the beginning of the planning phase of Canada’s military pull out of Afghanistan. The move comes in light of the Harper government’s intent to stick to its end date on Canada’s military participation in Afghanistan and for the Canadian government to switch its participation in Afghanistan to one that is focused on civilian aid and support. PM Stephen Harper has also commented that the Canadians simply do not have the desire to have troops in Afghanistan past the assigned pull out date. This view is supported by members of the academic community. Prof. Allen Sens of the University of British Columbia explained that the government and the people are suffering from ‘Afghanistan fatigue’. This disillusionment is not just attributed to the length of the mission but also to the lack of progress achieved in that time. Prof. Sens went on that Canadians feel that other countries took up a more active role in the highly volatile south. To read the full article click here or continue reading about the article blow.

However, an end to Canada’s military role in Afghanistan would not necessarily mean an end to Canada’s military presence in the country. Defense Minister Peter Mackay suggested that some Canadian troops might stay in a non-combat role, assisting with development and reconstruction. However, Retired General Rick Hillier noted that any Canadian troop presence, not matter their role, would naturally be drawn into combat due to the worsening security situation. The deteriotating security situation is also calling into question Canada’s reconstruction and development goals. Liberal Senator Colin Kenny has highlighted Canada’s failure to meet these goals by pointing out that only five of the 50 schools that Canada hope to build by 2011 have been completed. Therefore as Canada’s military participation is coming to an end the debate on its civilian participation is beginning.

Tags: Afghanistan, Canada's military participation, Canada's reconstruction and development goals, Defence policy, Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Liberal Senator Colin Kenny, PM Steven Harper, Prof. Allen Sens, Retired General Rick Hillier