After 12 long painful and difficult years Canadian forces have left Afghanistan. We lost more than 150 service personnel. Hundreds were dreadfully wounded physically Others were horribly wounded mentally.
The original aims of an Afghan war were to catch some bad guys and help the country so that the people could stay away from the bad guys. And yes, we wanted to establish a democracy with all the institutions we have. We also hoped to leave some infrastructure for the citizens to use. Has this happened? Our form of democracy and institutions were completely foreign to the Afghans. Their culture and history did not contain any experiences which would allow them to practice democracy.
As time went on we could see that the opposition to western forces was much bigger than had been estimated. It became a matter of hanging on and not getting beat up badly. Some of our allies pulled out much earlier in the war. This created a greater challenge for those who were left.
Canada paid a huge price for participating in the Afghanistan war. It was something we could not afford. Many of our other projects were put on hold and will probably never be built.
The war was entered into with more bravado than good sense. The enemy proved to be much tougher than was thought. The PR job with the locals was poorly done or not done at all so we upset people rather than get them on our side.
I did not want to see us get involved in the Afghan war. We would be interfering in a country more than anything else. Yes, the Taliban were evil to their own people. It will only be a short time before the Taliban are back.
So it is with mixed feelings that I see our troops come home. Our troops were brave and suffered extreme hardship and they should be honored and remembered for their efforts. I'm appalled at our government's treatment of the veterans. Steven Harper's government has cut a number of extremely important veteran services. It's cowardly on the part of our government to expect troops to serve and when they are finished neglect them.
I hope that this situation will never happen again. We should have learned that certain operations are completely useless.