“A Canadian soldier of the International Security Assistance Force patrols near his base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Feb. 8, 2008.” (Allauddin Khan/AP)
The Globe and Mail’s GRAEME SMITH AND PAUL KORING are reporting in the March 1 online and print versions of the paper that “[m]ost aid organizations quietly withdrew their international staff from Kandahar in recent weeks, the latest sign that the situation here is getting worse” They paint a bleak picture, writing that “[r]esidents have even started avoiding their own city streets after dark, [and that] …there is rarely any electricity…”
Especially disturbing is the soon to arrive US Marine reinforcements. While their presence may help reduce Canadian casualties and provide needed helicopter support, they may begin to increase the severity of the assault on the Taliban at a time when negotiations should be sought:
“The Marines, sent in to reinforce NATO forces for this summer’s fighting season, will add massive punching strength to the thinly stretched Canadians in Kandahar. The influx of Americans may also bring a shift in strategy: U.S. commanders have been saying that Canada and other NATO countries have been too “soft,” too hesitant to pursue the Taliban into their rural strongholds.”
This strategy in itself will likely incur Canadian losses. The Taliban are primarily a guerrilla fighting group and will avoid an American onslaught directly, while upping suicide attacks against Canadians. Besides, a recent suicide blast in the Canadian sector in Afghanistan caused the deaths of civilians, not soldiers. The locals had warned the Canadians to stay out of the area because the soldiers are targets mixed with civilians.
The Americans will fight as they did in Fallujah killing civilians while keeping the media away. Do we want to be a part of this continuing bloodshed?
The article is a MUST READ for Canadians.