Posts Tagged canadian army

Oscar Company savoring some payback

Canadian soldiers patrolling for IEDs in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, are finding it easier to take out insurgents due to a shortened "kill chain." LOUIE PALU/THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO

“Oh ya, baby!” one soldier shouted up at the sky as the airborne gatling gun spewed repeated bursts. Whoops and cheers rippled across the dust-blown camp.

In a war where the enemy hides in villages, and fights mainly with homemade bombs hidden in cooking pots, water jugs, farmer’s fields and trees, it’s not often Canadian soldiers get to fight back.

Oscar Company was savouring some payback, a sweet taste they’ve been enjoying more often in recent days.”–on-the-battlefield-canadian-soldiers-get-permission-to-shoot

Canadian Commander in Afghanistan Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance

Since Brigadier-General Jon Vance returned to take command in early June, the kill chain has been cut shorter, and Canadian troops on the battlefields of eastern Panjwai district say it’s getting easier to take the fight to the insurgents.

Major Steve Brown, commander of Oscar Company, in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment battle group, called Vance “a no-nonsense kind of guy” whose personality has helped reshape battlefield operations.

We’re getting quite a few stories about the frustration soldiers are having with the operational restrictions brought in by McChrystal (which was actually the focus of the Rolling Stone article that got him fired). I can understand the frustration…but let’s remember why those restrictions were brought in, yes? It’s the big picture. The negative effects of dead civilians almost always outweigh the benefits of dead Taliban.

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Riding with Ghosts

“Doing the Canadian thing: getting the job done without all of the fuss and fanfare.”

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN—We are motoring down a bare-dirt back road in Kandahar Province, a road where NATO patrols never go. This way is better, explains the ghost behind the wheel, because roads without soldiers tend not to explode….

…Nearly every other civilian foreigner has fled Kandahar. Some have taken refuge inside nearby NATO bases, others have retreated to comparably calmer Kabul. But not Team Canada, despite the rash of bombs and targeted killings that torment this crucial southern city. They are working under the radar to rapidly turn tens of millions of international aid dollars into jobs for thousands of Afghan men.

Fighting-age Afghan men, you understand, some of whom, in their desperation for income, would join the only other gainful employers in town — the cash-paying Taliban, or, more likely, one of the corrupt private armies that Panjwaii Tim assesses bluntly as “akin to the Sicilian mafia.”

Never mind hearts and minds, Team Canada is about hands and bellies — a largely invisible aid network on the front line, offering stay-alive sustenance to Afghans who might otherwise plant roadside bombs aimed at sending more Canadian bodies home down the Highway of Heroes…

…“They are the best crew in the country,” the blogger, Tim Lynch, an American contractor who does work similar to Team Canada in safer Nangahar Province, wrote in an email to the Star. “They have balls the size of grapefruit.”

Afghans soldiers during a patrol near Kandahar.

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Using culturally familiar strategies to make progress in Afghanistan

“Panjwayi, Afghanistan: As reports circulate that insurgents may have attacked a nearby unit with rocket-propelled grenades, a Canadian Army sergeant major lets out several profanities. He’s just realized that his soldiers forgot to bring paper plates for the snacks they were going to serve the Afghans.

Rather than helping with the fighting, his unit here in southern Kandahar Province has been tasked with organizing a shura, a meeting of village elders…”

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