Sunday, October 18, 2009

Canadians in the quagmire

A couple of vignettes of the war. First from the Ottawa Citizen:

Cost of mission weighs heavily on soldiers
Some in Afghanistan frustrated by toll, lack of clear purpose

By Bruce Ward - Oct 11

... most of the soldiers interviewed over the past five weeks have been upbeat, driven by their sense of duty and determined to do their job as best they can.

But when given the assurance they would not be identified, some expressed their frustration with the mission.

"Our guys get killed but there doesn't seem to be any gains made," one said.

"The Afghans take all kinds of humanitarian aid, but they don't really help us find the Taliban. They never give anything back."

Others said they had no clear idea of what their purpose is here, or what they are expected to accomplish... (link)
And from the Walrus:
Lessons Learned
Canadian troops in Afghanistan get a little help from a former jihadi
by Graeme Wood - The Walrus

... Teacher has picked out one of the halal rations offered by his employer, the Canadian military... [H]e translates Dari and Pashto for a small Canadian battle unit that trains the ragtag Afghan National Army [and] advises Sean Wilson, a wiry captain from the Royal Canadian Regiment, and shadows him on raids, searches of suspected Taliban hideouts, and patrols through mined and booby-trapped defiles.

Today Teacher and Wilson are leading an Afghan-Canadian patrol...

... the Afghan soldiers have already arrived, and seem to have been celebrating their summiting before they even start the search. Some have taken watermelons from a local villager; others have sparked up a morning toke, wreathing the area in a fog of hash.

Wilson tells Teacher to warn Captain Faizullah that his men are baked out of their minds, and probably not ready for an operation that could involve doors rigged to explode and snipers perched on the mountain nearby. Faizullah demurs, and when Wilson’s warrant officer takes away a stoned Afghan soldier’s gun, bitter words are exchanged, including some between the warrant and Faizullah, who says a mere enlisted man should not presume to speak to a toron, or mid-level officer, about how to do his job. Relations between the two forces are strained for the rest of the morning.

By early afternoon, we are back at our makeshift base, near the district centre. Wilson patches the rift with Faizullah, but none of the Canadians trust the Afghan soldiers with their safety anymore... (link)

No comments: