Friday, January 21, 2011

Countdown to Kabul - DND prepares to run a Frankenstein operation out of the Afghan capital

Canada's "Mission" in Afghanistan quickly became a war. We are allowed to number our dead but not to count our wounded, and the number of enemy our troops have slain is a state secret. By swatting at the pesky Taliban, and failing to neutralize Bin Laden, NATO has created a huge mess. We federal taxpayers will be funding the bloody cleanup for decades to come.

A Crusader army on the move was a cacophonous, colourful collection of men on horses, camp followers bouncing in carts, and weary servants with heavily calloused feet. The Canadians in Kandahar will soon be breaking camp and trailering their massive operation cross country to the Afghan capital - KABUL. Kabul where it's "safer" (Stephen Harper). Kabul where we will "no longer engage in a combat role". If you believe that, you better lay in some headache pills. There will be carnage in Kabul.

The super-base at Kandahar is impregnable. We are told that the new mission in the capital city, the training of Afghan National Police (ANP), will be a major scaling down of our war effort. That's odd, as training the ANP has always been an expensive component of our war in Afghanistan. I was first alerted to the ANP training boondoggle by an article in WALRUS magazine. That was about about eight years ago. More recently another WALRUS article caught my attention. THE ARCHIPELAGO OF FEAR by Charles Montgomery is here. You should find fifteen minutes to read it.

I suggest that in Kabul Canadians will be putting their balls on the block, and our military leaders know it. There is no way they will let Canadian cops run around Kabul naked. They just wouldn't do that. Military doctrine governs actions. Our cops do carry bad-ass weapons, and do pose in bulky body armour with bandoleers of mags, but there is no way they are going to go into firefights with Taliban urban infiltrators. Our policemen will be ambushed and their housing units will be bombed. (The PTSD settlements alone for 900 police trainers are going to put a big dent in our health care budget.)

If DND hasn't secretly promised to put in a few companies of regular soldiers to back up our cops from New Westminster, Edmonton, Regina, Sarnia and Moncton, Canada will contract for their protection to American, British or Australian mercenaries. There's no way Canadian cops will shelter under an Afghan security blanket.

I plan to write more about NATO's gold-plated policing contract in Afghanistan and the thankless role Ottawa has backed itself into. ISAF nations pay 100% of the payroll of the Afghan National Police, (although Japan footed that bill for one six month period) and they will remain a heavy burden on Canadian taxpayers for many years to come.

This is the peaceful image of our embassy published on a Canadian government website. Except for the mesh on the windows, the CCTV cameras and the flood lighting, it looks like it could be Kingston, Jamaica. In fact it is fortified and no Afghani citizens are allowed to go near it. The street is locked down. Concrete barriers block off both ends of the street and razor-tape festoons the perimeter fencing. There is a windowless "Panic Room" in the center of the compound where all civilian staff assemble when the alarm is raised.

The Canadian embassy is located in a wealthy neighborhood where the Afghan leaders keep their families and their property. Ever since the attack on the U.S. embassy in Saigon during the Vietnam War, guerrillas have made the hitting of embassies a high priority. If the Canadian embassy is attacked, you will NOT see it on television. You will only hear the well chewed and sweetened statements about "sacrifice" and "commitment". But the symbolism would be dire for a Tory government which has reneged on its solemn promise to get us out of this war by 2011. It is entirely up to us, we who have been lied to, to protest this war. When further Canadian blood is spilled, make it stick to the Tory logo.

The rear of the Canadian embassy has an improvised blast wall which will deflect a bomb blast or absorb RPG rounds. The compound is though, very vulnerable to even the lightest mortar rounds or to any improvised bomb projector. The IRA did it in London. The Taliban guerrillas will do it in Kabul.