Ah yes, Afghanistan. The war we lost years ago, but still pretend to care about. We Canadians do TOKENISM really well. Everything about our efforts in A-Stan reeks of tokenism. Take for example Justin Trudeau's response this morning to the most recent Kabul carnage - the murder of 14 Gurkha's of the Canadian Embassy security force:
Justin Tweeted: "Today's attack on security workers in Kabul is appalling and cowardly. Our thoughts are with the victims as we stand with the Afghan people."
Justin is wrong of course. He often is. The weekend attack wasn't cowardly at all but it was certainly cunning. Kabul is one of the most locked-down cities in any war zone, and a Taliban Kamikaze who manages to strike a military target inside that city has balls the size of B.C. apples. The attack on our Embassy security personnel was precise and extremely lethal. Latest word from Kabul is that several team-mates on staff are seriously thinking of quitting and going home. They should. Unemployment in earthquake ravaged Nepal, is preferable to taking a salvo of steel pellets from the next suicide bomber. Canada has set these brave men up to be killed, and the fourteen families deserve huge financial compensation.
Packed like Tourists in a Mini-bus
The Ambassador herself, Ms. Deborah Lyons, didn''t go anywhere in Kabul unless her fanny was riding above armour plate and she was waving to the Afghan children through bullet-proof glass. Why then would we ever cheap-out and transport the Canadian embassy security crews in rickety tour buses? The very idea is grotesque and SHAMEFUL. We would never put Canadian troops or RCMP officers at such risk, so which parsimonious Ottawa bureaucrat gave the O.K. to transport out Gurkha guard force in vehicles that have the bullet resistance of a Coca-Cola can?
Look closely at these photos. A few hours ago the punctured bodies of 14 Gurkha security officers (12 Nepalese and 2 Indian) were pulled from those seats. Kabul firemen broke the windows with pick axes to ease the extraction of dead and wounded. Those who survived have pellet wounds to the head. The Taliban suicide bomber was wearing a carefully manufactured explosive belt that rammed a high-velocity pattern through the windshield and into the faces of the passengers.If our Gurkha security personnel had been riding in an armoured vehicle, not a single man would have been killed by that type of explosive belt. So why weren't they?
I draw your attention, once again, to the photo evidence. Not a single hole in the aluminum body of the bus. Not even a flat tire. The entire dispersion pattern is through the front windshield. How much do you bet that the suicide bomber stepped directly in front of the bus, and that the passengers were craning their necks to look at him? In that frozen moment in time, most of those killed probably understood they were staring at death. These "security workers" as Trudeau so stupidly labeled them, were all ex-military, with years of experience in war zones. All are veterans of the British, Indian or Nepalese Armies. These were all employed by SABRE INTERNATIONAL, the private security company that currently holds the contract for defending the Canadian Embassy from Taliban insurgents. The requirements for Guard Force employment are six years of military or police service, of which two years must have been in "Iraq, Afghanistan or other high threat location". All of that professional training and experience for US$1200 per month. A really sweet deal for us, eh?
Our Ambassador on Vacation -
The Gurkhas were the Target
The Canadian Embassy in Kabul is a very hard target, and it would be near impossible for the Taliban to take it out. There are said to be 147 Nepali's on the payroll, and always a few dozen on home leave. That leaves a total of 82 Gurkhas on the guard force, divided between two teams, working in three shifts. There are never less than twenty on the property. At the slightest sign of trouble the Ambassador is whisked into a self-contained bunker, and the gunships would be overhead before the assault team could breach the door. But that wasn't the point. The Ambassador, Deborah Lyons, is actually on vacation. The Trudeau government has reassigned her to Israel, and she packed her green scarves away. The Tweet attributed to her, earlier today, and from various Ottawa luminaries, is actually staff work. The Gurkhas are now responsible for guarding all the major embassies in Kabul, and the Taliban is sending a potent message. So potent in fact, that some of the Gurkhas are sure to buckle, especially if cheapskate employers like Canada, persist in sending them back to barracks each day in tour coaches.
The Canadian Government
Squandered 14 Good Men
As a Canadian, I am sincerely ashamed that we set these men up for a brutal and needless death. In fact it is my fervent wish that a Toronto or Vancouver law firm will take up the case of their grieving families, and negotiate a meaningful settlement... say a million dollars per family. I didn't vote for Justin but I'd vote "Yes" for compensating Canada's most loyal employees in Kabul. Describing the dead men as part off the Embassy "family" (as was attributed to Ms. Lyons) is meaningless horse shit. At minimum she should be required to fly to Nepal to attend the funerals, and deliver the first compensation cheques to the grieving families.
Updated- June 22 - Toll is now 15 Dead Security Guards.
The Gurkhas are of course a legendary breed of fighting men, and there is no need for me to rehash their battlefield accomplishments here. This single Internet scrape ("A one-man army") is illustrative of Gurkha valour - specifically as it pertains to Afghanistan.
I did search today for some statement from the security contractor, SABRE INTERNATIONAL, but did not find one. Let us all hope that Ottawa, and SABRE, will now budget for some armoured transport for the remaining members of our Embassy security force. I suppose buckets of hot blood may not be sufficient to effect change. It will be up to Her Majesty's Official Opposition, supported by a few Ottawa journalists, to turn this ugly incident into a political issue. Actually, I don't believe many Canadians will give a shit about dead Gurkhas, but Trudeau has to because more will die unless we learn from this tragic blunder.
This story is going to disappear extremely fast simply because there are no photographs of the dead. Canadian brains in the 21st Century don't register words. They only respond to images. Unfortunately for the Gurkhas, the Kabul security forces were EXTREMELY EFFICIENT at the blast site, and the media cowed. If photos were taken of the carnage, not a single news agency has released any. All evidence of the gore was hosed away within a few hours, and the bus itself was secured in a compound with high walls.
I close with an extract from a column in the TORONTO STAR today (June 20/16)
UPDATE TO STORY:
NEPALI M.P. slams Canadian "negligence"... as he should.
DO THE RIGHT THEING OTTAWA . DON'T MAKE THEM BEG !
AFTERMATH - 12 returned to Nepal, 2 to India
Nepal Airlines today returned the bodies of twelve Gurkha guards to their grieving families. The dead, all employed as security at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul, were slain by a Taliban guerrilla who detonated a suicide vest in their faces. In addition to the dead, 24 Nepalese from our Embassy guard force returned on the Nepal Airlines flight.
A widow is comforted at the ceremony. Each of the 12 coffins returned from Kabul was labeled (by the Kabul Police Forensic Lab)with a colour enlargement from their Nepal passport. The coffins were transported from the airport to the gravesite in Nepal Army trucks. All of the Canadian Embassy guards are ex-soldiers and entitled to full military honours.
If these men were White Canadians, employed by our Embassy in Kabul, this service would be broadcast live on all television networks. This IS a Canadian event, and we shouldn't turn our face away. As well, we must not turn our backs on these grieving families.Ronald J. Jack
BANG ! Our Embassy loses Gurkha Guards
BANG ! Our Embassy loses Gurkha Guards