Canada is formally completing its fighting mission in Afghanistan this week, a move that marks the end of a robust combat presence centered in the dangerous and violent southern province of Kandahar. but it is said that 950 soldiers and support staff will remain to train puppet Afghan police and army troops in the capital until 2014.
The Canadian military on Tuesday formally transferred its last district in the province to the United States, where the U.S. 3rd Battalion 21st Regiment took over from the Canadian 1st Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment. On Thursday, Canadian Brig. Gen. Dean Milner will transfer command of NATO-led troops in Kandahar’s Panjwai and Dand districts to U.S. command.
The battle group deployed in February 2006. During the war, 157 Canadian soldiers, one diplomat and one journalist have died in the country.
This transition comes as other countries make preparations for drawdowns and shifting to plans for non-combat missions in Afghanistan, such as training.U.S. President Barack Obama recently announced the withdrawal of 33,000 American troops by the end of next year. France announced that it would also begin to reduce troop numbers, saying it “will initiate a progressive withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan, and will follow a timetable comparable to the withdrawal of the American troops.”
One of more than 40 countries participating in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force with nearly 3,000 troops, Canada has lost more than 157 troops in the war, the third highest death toll after the United States and Britain.
The pullout marks the first time in history the Canadian military has left and escaped from a battlefield while a war still rages! No doubt Afghanistan is a graveyard of empires.