White guys with guns: Canada’s military in Afghanistan pt.1

With a few exceptions, media coverage of the mission has been generally sympathetic to the claims and actions of Canadian military officials. It is the purpose of this essay to shed light on the less-reported aspects of the mission, about which our military and government officials rarely speak.

The spectacle at Kandahar Air Field (KAF) seems reminiscent of the bar scene in Star Wars. An enormous, Russian-built complex, KAF sits on the edge of the vast desert in southern Afghanistan which straddles the border with Pakistan amidst Pashtun territory. Journalists describe a steady of flow of soldiers from several countries, many of whom are off-limits to reporters. American and Canadian special forces, for instance, cannot be interviewed or even mentioned by the press. And those troops may not be the only ones keeping a low profile, as “a senior British officer said there last autumn that he was convinced the Taliban had many spies on the base”.

Apart from the multinational tutoring in special ops and media relations, there may be other important skills being disseminated at KAF. A Norwegian newspaper caused a stir early this year when it reported on sworn testimony by several US interrogators who had worked at the base and described some of the goings-on, including the widespread use of torture. READ MORE

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