Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Peace making on earth and good will to Afghanistan
Soft approach working in Operation Baaz Tsuka
"The overall operation has been unfolding exactly as per the plan,'' Lt.-Col. Omer Lavoie, commander of the Canadian Battle Group, said Friday.
"As far as the Canadians are concerned it was considered to be, as much as possible, a non-kinetic operation."
"In other words, we were not going in hard in a way characterized by combat operations, but certainly characterized by a lot of combat power if we needed it."
Taliban boxed in by coalition forces
he Taliban are hemmed inside 10-square-kilometres of mud fortresses and walled farm compounds, terrain that is well-suited to their guerrilla tactics but which also makes it difficult if not impossible to escape.
As Lavoie noted with satisfaction, British and American troops sit approximately 10 kilometers south of Howz-e Madad.
More British soldiers line the west, sealing that corridor, and Canadian combat teams rolled on Wednesday through Howz-e Madad.
About 30 vehicles and hundreds of soldiers now hold the northern flank. Canadian tanks and light armoured vehicles are spread out there, in a giant circle, ready to attack fleeing insurgents. The vehicles and weaponry are a menacing presence that can be seen for several kilometres, in all directions.
To the east, running in a straight line to the Arghandab River, is impenetrable Route Summit, the 4.5 kilometre roadway established in September, during Operation Medusa.
Reconstruction proceeds in Afghan district
It's Canada's first offensive since the Canadian-led Operation Medusa in early September. NATO claimed hundreds of Taliban militants were killed in that operation.
Behind the scenes, food and medical supplies are being sent to villages in the Panjwaii and Zahri districts. And portable checkpoints are being brought in as part of the ultimate goal of putting Afghan government forces in control of the area once effective held by Taliban rebels.
"Afghan security forces are now forming an inner cordon in Howz-e Madad," Lavoie said.
Sgt. Nathan Ronaldson, in charge of the provincial reconstruction team in Bazar-e Panjwaii, attended a shura - or meeting - with local leaders on Friday to discuss land claims related to the construction of a highway, Route Summit, through the region.
Before the meeting began, he told Bismallah Jan, the police chief for the Panjwaii district, that several containers had arrived with portable vehicle checkpoints.
"There's going to be a variety of checkpoints put out throughout the district. It's designed to be a 'sea can in a box,' sort of an Ikea concept," said Ronaldson, 34, from Scarborough, Ont. "You drop off two sea cans and it's everything you need to construct a vehicle checkpoint. It's designed to be temporary, around six to 12 months."
There will be 11 of the checkpoints constructed in Panjwaii district alone as NATO forces attempt to eventually put the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Auxiliary Police in charge of security in each district.
Ronaldson has been meeting village elders for the past month trying to reach a compensation package for the construction of Route Summit. Then suddenly it was done. The elders agreed on a price for the lost grape vines and land appropriated.
"Did we just close the deal?," a disbelieving Ronaldson asked his interpreter as they left the shura.
Negotiations in Afghanistan are usually intense with a lot of bargaining, theatrics and mock exhibitions of rage. That was the case until Friday.
"You know it kind of went out with a whimper and not a bang," Ronaldson said. "I was expecting a much worse meeting, some dissension, some hand throwing, some yelling and they just said OK."
Sweet now were talking. I just hope they had enough sense to put an OP (Observation Post) on top of these Sea Can check points with a mount for a heavy machine gun. Nothing like having a birds eye view and good fields of fire.
Previous post on this sea can prefab acommodation in a box.
Hopefull all of my observations were taken into account. IE: fill walls with water or sand to improve armour capability, Water storage capability, some form of electrical generation wind solar, Composting toilets, good communications, templated for artillery support.
There looks to be hope in handing over afghanistan to the afghanistan people once and for all.
General Hillier serves up Christmas
Canada's top military officer admitted in an interview later that he is aware some of his soldiers question the mission's viability and the so-called "soft knock" strategy being used in the latest phase of the campaign, which is dubbed Operation Baaz Tsuka.
"I think it's entirely natural that some soldiers would say 'Well, this is not the way to do it,'" he acknowledged.
Operation Baaz Tsuka launched ten days ago in and around the village of Howz-e Madad. It is meant to separate "Tier Two" Taliban fighters from hard-core extremists, and persuade them to help with the reconstruction of Kandahar province, which has experienced decades of war.
Canadian soldiers have been instructed that violence and "kinetic engagement" with the enemy is not the preferred method of achieving operational objectives.
The "soft-knock" approach has reaped benefits, the General said, but Operation Baaz Tsuka is not over. Taliban fighters remain in the area and will inevitably be confronted as the campaign continues this week.
"I think you will see a hard knock and a soft knock approach," said General Hillier. "Both methods will be used."
Aren't these soldiers from the same base Petawawa that killed that young Somolia kid and got that mission disbanded along with Kim Campbell ousted. Ok that was the Airborne but changing the name didn't change their attitudes obviously it just sent alot of it underground. God damn gung ho no minds.
Pakistan says it will fence, mine parts of Afghan border to stop militants
Maybe they should talk to the US about those monitoring towars the yare supposed to put up along the Canadian border and Mexican border. Would make for a good trial for the US towers and help in Afghanistan. Take it to them now close our own borders so to speak. Would need to be bullet proof over there LOL.
Well deserved praise from the MSM.
'Canadian Soldier' voted 2006 Newsmaker
Now if the MSM would just contribute in Afghanistan in helping counteract the Talibans' propaganda campaign. Good job for the CBC if they want to continue sucking at the tax payers tit.
It is a given that the CBC will support the Liberals because by definiton the CPC wants less govt and increased private enterprise so by supporting the Liberals the CBC is only doing like anybody and performing acts of self preservation. But there is still a role within canada Isolated and northern areas and even more so internationally once our population and markets are developed to an extent where the cbc is no longer required.
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