Sarpoza prison break throws Canada’s Afghan legacy into doubt

Photo by Graeme Smith/Globe and Mail

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 – Globe and Mail

If there is to be a large-scale international move to boost Afghan security, following a subterranean Taliban-assisted escape from Sarpoza prison early Monday morning, it is not likely to come from Canada. That will probably fall to U.S. forces coming to pick up the pieces in Kandahar province.

Some note this week’s escape highlights the questionable legacy of Canada’s efforts in Kandahar just as troops prepare to hand over responsibility.

But Canadians who’ve worked near Sarpoza argue the audacious getaway also indicates just how Sisyphean a task it is to foster even a fragile sense of security in this volatile Afghan province.

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Deadly attack signals growing struggle for troops

Friday, January 1, 2010 – Globe and Mail

TORONTO and QASSAM POL, AFGHANISTAN — It was a targeted attack, a massive bomb detonated via remote control, that tore up the road just four kilometres from Kandahar city and killed four Canadian soldiers and a journalist in one of the deadliest attacks on Canadian troops since the country’s Afghan mission began.

The brazen attack so close to Canada’s base in Kandahar indicates just how challenging it’s going to be for Canadian troops to secure what Brigadier-General Daniel Ménard called a “ring of stability” in the area directly surrounding Kandahar city – and how far the troops have to go to win not only the hearts and minds but the trust of Afghans living there.

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Canada in Afghanistan: Mission becoming impossible task

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 – Globe and Mail

Canada’s Afghanistan mission is falling short of its goals as violence and instability continue to worsen in Kandahar and across the country. Critics and military experts are questioning whether those goals can possibly be met by the time Canada ends its military commitment in 2011 – and whether they were realistic to begin with.

A quarterly report released yesterday detailing the progress of Canadian military operations in Afghanistan found Kandahar province becoming more violent, less stable and less secure, and attacks across the country becoming more frequent than at any time since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Less than two years before the scheduled end of its military mission in Kandahar, Canada isn’t meeting the benchmarks it set coming out of the Manley commission.

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