Posted by Lex, on June 4, 2008
It may not be commonly known here in the US, but our Canadian allies in the Af have suffered casualties disproportional to their numbers, chiefly because their 2500 soldiers are stationed in the Kandahar region, birthplace of the Taliban and heart of the combative Pashtun ethnic group. The Great White Up has had a vigorous political debate on the direction of the mission, and – having won a concession from NATO for 1000 additional combat troops – has recently agreed to extend their efforts until at least 2011.
Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan Arif Lalani recently spoke to NPR reporter Renee Montagne on his country’s efforts there:
LALANI: (You’re)… quite right to point out that this is a leadership in a way that Canada hasn’t experienced since the Korean War. And that kind of leadership, I think, has taken some adjustment for Canadians.
But Canadians, frankly, you know, have not really been protesting against the war. There’s been a lot of political debate about the direction of the mission.
MONTAGNE: Well, I take your point. It’s not so much protest on the streets but there certainly is a constant drum roll in Canada of criticism about Afghanistan in a way that we don’t see that here. More like what we see here about Iraq.
LALANI: Exactly. And I think partly it’s because our Afghanistan mission is our number one foreign policy priority. What you’re seeing is natural because we have never done anything this big, and frankly with this kind of loss of life. So Canadians, I think, are adjusting due to the fact that Americans are used to, which is that leadership isn’t always easy.
No, it isn’t. But as the lead sled dog said to his running mate, at least you have an unobstructed view.