Friday, November 06, 2009

Afstan: Planning to end (most of?) the CF's mission/Update: Dutch and Aussies

Had to be started if to be done efficiently by 2011. From an Ottawa Citizen story:
Afghanistan 'drawdown' begins
Canada's top general issues order to start planning pullout of military units

Canada's top soldier has issued instructions for his officers to start making their plans for the pull out of military units in Afghanistan.

Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk's order to units for a "drawdown" of forces in Afghan- istan lays the groundwork for what will be a lengthy process of transporting tonnes of equipment and supplies back home.

"The CDS has issued direction to his commanders to proceed with plans to draw down the CF force in Afghanistan as per the Parliamentary motion," defence sources confirmed in statement late Thursday night.

Natynczyk informed the troops about the drawdown during his recent trip to Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced last year that Canada's military mission would end in 2011. "You have to put an end date on these things," Harper told reporters at the time.

The Canadian government wants to shift the focus on the Afghanistan mission from military operations to civilian aid and support.

Harper reiterated the 2011 withdrawal in September and pointed out that he took that same message to U.S. leaders during recent meetings in Washington.

"In 2011, we will have been in Afghanistan almost as long as we were in the two world wars combined," Harper said.

"I think in this time frame we've just got to see some results from the Afghan government on the ground as it pertains to their own security," Harper said...

The winding down of Canada's combat mission is expected to be a major logistical exercise. Some of the gear, ranging from trucks to tanks, will have to be prepared for being shipped home.

While the Canadian Forces has its own large transport aircraft, it will likely have to augment that by leased aircraft. Transport ships will also have to be arranged to carry some of the materiel back to Canada.

It is possible, however, that the Canadian Forces could transfer some of the equipment to either the Afghan National Army or police or to allied units...

Last month, Defence Minister Peter MacKay suggested to a Commons committee that Canadian troops may stay on in Afghanistan in a non-combat role.

MacKay said that soldiers would be involved in development and reconstruction, but did not provide specific details...
More from the CBC:
On Friday [Nov. 6], MacKay, told reporters the government has been consistent on the pullout of troops.

"We have been crystal-clear at a military level and a political level — the prime minister, myself, the minister of foreign affairs, Gen. Walter Natynczyk — [the] combat mission will end in 2011.

"Certainly one of the best things that our military do is planning and contingency planning so they're making the necessary arrangements to prepare for that inevitability in 2011."

As recently as this week, MacKay said the government had not yet made up its mind about troops after 2011. The defence minister said the government was waiting to hear if U.S. President Barack Obama would commit more troops to the fight in southern Afghanistan before deciding what Canada's own mission would look like [see this post, "Afstan post-2011: Why should MND MacKay care very much?"].
Hardly "crystal-clear". The prime minister says the "military mission" will end. The MND says the "combat mission" will end. Dance, dance, dance. The 2008 Commons' resolution says the CF will be out of Kandahar by December, 2011--not out of Afstan. The government's lack of simple clarity on its most important defence and foreign policy matter is embarrassing and disgraceful.

At least it looks like the CF will avoid a media "Gotcha!" moment; and that--unless the government reverses course--no planning for a reduced, but still substantial, post-2011 CF mission will take place. In fact, for any such mission, time is running out to do the necessary assigning of units and personnel and arranging their training, important elements of which are done in the US, e.g. here and here.

Update: Another factor affecting planning:
"I've put out instructions back in August on our planning and preparation with regard to 2011," he said. "Our allies are well aware, NATO is well aware of our intentions because ... it takes a year or so to prepare all the troops ... to replace us."..

"I don't have additional knowledge of where the laydown is, but I would say the chances are that the U.S. will continue to replace what we're doing in Kandahar province," Natynczyk said. "That would be at this point my assumption."
Via I wonder how the Dutch are planning; and the Aussies say they won't take over from them in Uruzgan. Want to bet on any other Euro filling the breach?


Post a Comment

<< Home