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Canada’s Contribution to the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan: A Sailor’s Experience

Commander Hugues Canuel
Commander Hugues Canuel
Abstract :

Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan was concluded more than a year ago, alternatively celebrated as a great and noble achievement and decried as a wasteful expenditure of lives and resources by different segments of the media.1

Much less coverage was allotted to the simultaneous effort undertaken by the Canadian Forces (CF) to mount a training mission in the Kabul region as troops were being withdrawn from the Kandahar province. Operation Attention would become central to the country’s commitment to the NATO effort in Afghanistan and all elements of the CF were called upon to provide personnel in support of that endeavour.

I was deployed as part of the stand-up of Operation Attention, Canada’s contribution to the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. From July 2011 to March 2012, I witnessed the tremendous challenges involved in the transition of the Canadian mission in that war-torn country, from a combat role in the south, to that of training the Afghan National Security Forces (ANST) in the Kabul region. This short article aims to provide a sailor’s perspective on the many dimensions of the operation based on his recent experience in various advisory and staff duties with the UN-mandated, NATO-led coalition.      
As the debate on the future of the allied effort continued, I was assigned to the contingent provided by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) during that pivotal period.  Such experience cannot be presented as typical of the hundreds of individuals that eventually deployed for Operation Attention in 2011-2012. Nevertheless, it was representative of the smaller group employed in senior positions within the headquarters of the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A), whether as staff officers or advisors to units of the ANSF. This article will attempt to provide an insight into this recent experience, addressing those practical and procedural aspects that may not have received as much coverage in the mainstream media. First, however, it may be appropriate to lay out some of the background to the mission and its rapid evolution through the course of the rotation.

Keywords :
Canada’s Contribution to the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan: A Sailor’s Experience

Date Deposited : 08 Apr 2015 11:05

Last Modified : 08 Apr 2015 11:05

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Volume 13, Number 1, - 2013

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