The truth about Canada’s Afghan training mission

Source: CCPA

 Last November, Prime Minister Stephen Harper extended Canada’s mission in Afghanistan by three years without a debate in Parliament. His explanation: “When we’re talking simply about technical or training missions, I think that is something the executive can do on its own.” But the first four Canadian deaths in Afghanistan occurred in 2002, when a training exercise attracted “friendly fire” from an American F-16 fighter jet, warned Michael Byers and Stewart Webb in a new report published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, focal point of Social Watch in the North American country, and the Rideau Institute.

The Canadian government’s plan to extend the military mission in Afghanistan deserves a public debate, argues a new report published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Rideau Institute.

Analysts Michael Byers and Stuart Webb determine that the new training mission, first proposed by the Liberals then adopted by the Conservatives, poses many dangers to Canadian soldiers:

* All military operations carry inherent risks of accidents and “friendly-fire”;
Recruitment and training centres have repeatedly been targeted for attacks by insurgents;

* Canadian soldiers may be expected to provide security perimeters around their bases, exposing them to attack;

* Training will likely require operations in the field, “outside the wire,” where a training mission could quickly turn into actual combat with insurgents;

* And most alarmingly, insurgents have already infiltrated the ranks of recruits for the Afghan National Army, and have turned their guns on foreign military trainers inside training facilities.

The report concludes that despite Prime Minister Harper’s stated intention of ensuring a “safer” mission for the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, numerous Canadian soldiers will likely be killed or permanently injured, and the mission will ultimately not be successful.

“Although they won’t admit it, most Western governments have already given up on the country,” said co-author Michael Byers. “The training mission is clearly an exit strategy that will cost more Canadians their lives.”

The authors worry that the election has pre-empted a proper public discussion of the mission. “Canadians need to be made aware of the risks of this mission,” added co-author Stewart Webb.

Read an article about the report published in Globe and Mail daily at

Read the complete report at