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Despite these depressing realities, the United States and its allies are all about saving face and exiting quietly.


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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is too busy these days planning for the upcoming federal elections to say too much about Afghanistan. When he and his cabinet have talked about Canada's role in Afghanistan, honesty wasn't always presented as the best policy. Complicity in torture. One of the darkest aspects of the coalition's role in Afghanistan is their relationship torture of Afghan detainees. Law professor Amir Attaran from the University of Ottawa sparked the controversy when he obtained documents in via access-to-information requests from the Department of National Defence that show how Canadian military police saw injuries on the bodies of detainees after being questioned by Afghan interrogators.

The Globe and Mail then published its own investigation that year, where Smith interviewed 30 men who "were beaten, whipped, starved, frozen, choked and subjected to electric shocks during interrogation" in Kandahar's infamous prisons. A report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan states that investigators found "compelling evidence" that 46 percent of the detainees who were interviewed "experienced interrogation techniques at the hands of NDS officials that constituted torture, and that torture is practiced systematically in a number of NDS detention facilities throughout Afghanistan".

Canadian soldiers were 20 minutes away from running out of ammo in Afghanistan War battle

In , Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin, who served in Afghanistan for 17 months, testified to Members of Parliament that Canada's "complicity in torture" severely damaged its effort in southern Afghanistan. Colvin testified that he began to report his concerns about torture to his superiors in , and was met with what can only be described as sustained indifference.

The response from Harper and his cabinet was underwhelming to say the least. The Red Cross took exception to this statement by accusing O'Connor of misinterpreting its actual mandate, and that the aid organisation had no role in overseeing the detainee transfer processes between Canada and Afghanistan. O'Connor eventually apologised to Parliament and a new detainee transfer agreement was negotiated later in Military police were later tasked with investigating whether the military were negligent when it came to transferring detainees to Afghan officials.

The commission came out with a report of its own in , revealing that the Harper administration actively tried to thwart the original investigation. Canada's role in this bloody debacle cannot be overshadowed by the thin propaganda of how 'good' a war Afghanistan is supposed to be, or by the now-anachronistic representation of Canada as a peacemaking nation.

Furthermore, indifference among Canadian officials wasn't exclusive to the Conservative Party. Then Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, along with his entire administration, didn't respond to Olexiuk's warnings in any meaningful way. A deeply ambiguous legacy. As opposed to the invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan is still portrayed as the " good war " for US President Barack Obama and his allies.

But feel-good ideas like ridding the world of terrorism and delivering a stable democracy to Afghanistan have given way to reality. The West isn't just leaving a country when it comes to Afghanistan. It's leaving a conflict. Having gone through an election at this particularly difficult juncture, allegations of electoral fraud have yet again plagued the Afghan political system, a structure that the West has invested in and helped prop up. In the aftermath of the attacks, the administration of U.

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George W. Bush coalesced around a strategy of first ousting the Taliban from Afghanistan and dismantling al-Qaeda, though others contemplated actions in Iraq, including long-standing plans for toppling Pres. Saddam Hussein. The campaign in Afghanistan started covertly on September 26, with a Central Intelligence Agency CIA team known as Jawbreaker arriving in the country and, working with anti-Taliban allies, initiating a strategy for overthrowing the regime. Pentagon officials were especially concerned that the United States not be drawn into a protracted occupation of Afghanistan, as had occurred with the Soviets more than two decades prior.

The Americans also teamed with anti-Taliban Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan, including a little-known tribal leader named Hamid Karzai. The CIA team was soon joined by U.

They also helped coordinate targeting for the air campaign, which began on October 7, , with U. In late October, Northern Alliance forces began to overtake a series of towns formerly held by the Taliban. The forces worked with U. It had been besieged by a force led by Karzai that moved in from the north and one commanded by Gul Agha Sherzai that advanced from the south; both operated with heavy assistance from the United States. With behind-the-scenes maneuvering by the United States, Karzai was selected to lead the country on an interim basis. An intensive manhunt for Omar, bin Laden , and al-Qaeda deputy chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was undertaken.

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Canada marks fifth anniversary of end of Afghanistan mission

Prior to the killing of bin Laden by U. But bin Laden was thought to have managed to have slipped into Pakistan with the help of Afghan and Pakistani forces that were supposedly helping the Americans. Critics later questioned why the U. Indeed, Democratic presidential candidate Sen.

War in Afghanistan | The Canadian Encyclopedia

John Kerry made this criticism repeatedly during the general election campaign. One of the final major battles of the first phase of the war came in March with Operation Anaconda in the eastern province of Paktia, which involved U. With the ouster of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, the international focus shifted to reconstruction and nation-building efforts in Afghanistan. But from the start, development efforts in Afghanistan were inadequately funded, as attention had turned among U. More than half the money went to training and equipping Afghan security forces, and the remainder represented a fraction of the amount that experts said would be required to develop a country that had consistently ranked near the bottom of global human development indices.

The aid program was also bedeviled by waste and by confusion over whether civilian or military authorities had responsibility for leading education, health, agriculture, and other development projects. Despite military commitments from dozens of U. The United States consistently represented the largest foreign force in Afghanistan, and it bore the heaviest losses. By spring more than 1, U. Log in.

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