Remember Afghanistan

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Dear Editor:

With Remembrance Day fast approaching, when we remember our war dead and the sacrifices they made, so we may live in freedom and liberty, I thought it appropriate to note the good news regarding our forces in Afghanistan. According to the Globe and Mail of Nov. 6, 2009, an official with the Defence Department stated, "A Chief of Defence Staff directive has been issued to begin planning preparations for the 2011 end of combat mission."

This is in accord with the mandate by the Canadian Parliament that the military part of the mission in Afghanistan end in 2011.

Dear Editor:

With Remembrance Day fast approaching, when we remember our war dead and the sacrifices they made, so we may live in freedom and liberty, I thought it appropriate to note the good news regarding our forces in Afghanistan. According to the Globe and Mail of Nov. 6, 2009, an official with the Defence Department stated, "A Chief of Defence Staff directive has been issued to begin planning preparations for the 2011 end of combat mission."

This is in accord with the mandate by the Canadian Parliament that the military part of the mission in Afghanistan end in 2011.

There are currently 2,800 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and since 2002, 133 Canadian soldiers have been killed serving in the Afghanistan mission. It is certainly time to leave the land of death and suffering.

I only wish the Canadian withdrawal was to take effect immediately. We really don't need more brave Canadians soldiers being dealt debilitating injuries or death.

The Afghanistan war reminds me of the Vietnam war, where 50,000 American soldiers were killed and many more thousands wounded terribly, all for nothing. The Americans eventually lost the war and Vietnam is now a trading partner of the US.

The South Vietnamese forces were poor fighters and the government was corrupt. Similar situations now exist in Afghanistan.

The recent presidential election in Afghanistan was so corrupted by massive fraud that a second election was to be held. There were so few changes to insure a fair election the second time that it was called off.

The Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown, went so far as to tell the Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai, that if he didn't clean up the corruption in his government, British forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

According to the New York Times, reviews of Afghanistan's military and police forces, presented to President Obama and written by officials directly involved in the training programs, describe the Afghan forces as poorly led, largely illiterate and often corrupt. It was also noted that 20 to 25 per cent of the men in these security forces quit each year.

It was also noted that the number of Afghan battalions able to fight independently actually declined in the past six months. Further, of the 92,000 people in the Afghan National Police only 24,000 have completed formal training.

Just recently, the United Nations decided to pull half its foreign staff from Afghanistan until security for its workers improve. Just last week, five UN workers were killed in Kabul.

So given the dreary situation in Afghanistan , is it time to get out? You bet it is.

I hope this Remembrance Day, along with remembering our military men and women of the past, Canadians also remember members of our military still in Afghanistan and other parts of the world.

Doug Smith

Grand Falls-Windsor

Organizations: Dear Editor, Globe and Mail, Defence Department Defence Staff Canadian Parliament United Nations New York Times

Geographic location: Afghanistan, Vietnam, US Great Britain Kabul

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