Showing posts with label Afghanistan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Afghanistan. Show all posts

24 June 2012

Caribou over Afghanistan

Your eyes are not playing tricks on you.

That’s a DHC-4 Caribou, known to Americans as a C-7, upgraded with turboprops. 

They are indeed 50 years old, but they still do the job dropping supplies to remote locations in Afghanistan. 


18 April 2012

The Wet Bandits, Taliban version

One mid-level Taliban commander turned himself in to Afghan authorities in order to collect the reward mentioned on the BOLO poster local authorities issued for him.

According to the Washington Post:

When U.S. troops went to confirm that Ashan had in fact come forward to claim the finder’s fee, they were initially incredulous.

“We asked him, ‘Is this you?’ Mohammad Ashan answered with an incredible amount of enthusiasm, ‘Yes, yes, that’s me! Can I get my award now?’” recalled SPC Matthew Baker.

A biometric scan confirmed that the man in Afghan custody was the insurgent they had been looking for.

“This guy is the Taliban equivalent of the ‘Home Alone” burglars,” one U.S. official said.


10 April 2012

Afghanistan Infantry Firefight

A short video from an unspecified rotation by 3rd battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Afghanistan.  The video is from a helmet-mounted camera worn by a soldier using a C-9 light machine gun

Note that at one point a rocket propelled grenade passes over the soldier’s head.



17 November 2011

Unseen wounds are no less real

Two new studies of Canadian soldiers who served in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2008 shows the prevalence of psychological casualties in modern combat operations.  The Globe and Mail reported that:

In one study of 792 frontline soldiers who fought in Afghanistan in 2007, some 20 per cent suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder, while 3.1 per cent suffered other mental illnesses such as depression.

In a larger national study, researchers examined medical records of 2,045 soldiers who served from 2001 to 2008 and found 8 per cent suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder and another 5.2 per cent suffered other mental-health illnesses over a follow-up period averaging five years. (Globe and Mail)

The studies also found that 98% of those experiencing symptoms had sought and received treatment. 

Things have changed radically since the first deployments to the former Yugoslavia almost 20 years ago.  But psychological casualties still turn up, even from older operations.  As the Globe story also noted:

“People are still coming forward from Chicoutimi and Swissair,” said Colonel Rakesh Jetly, head psychiatrist for the Canadian Forces. The Chicoutimi submarine fire killed one seaman in 2004, and the military was deeply involved in recovering bodies and wreckage after the 1998 Swissair crash.

- srbp -

Related:  Those interested in the history of the treatment of  psychological injuries in the Canadian Army can find a excellent account in Terry Copp and Bill McAndrew’s Battle exhaustion: soldiers and psychiatrists in the Canadian Army, 1939-1945.

Sadly, much of the experience gained in pioneering work done during the Second World War vanished in the years after only to be rediscovered – out of sheer necessity – since the end of the Cold War.

30 August 2010

Corner Brook soldier dies of wounds rec’d in Afghanistan

pinksen Corporal Brian Pinksen, 21, a soldier with Second Battalion, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, died at a hospital in Germany today of wounds received in Afghanistan.

Corporal Pinksen was wounded eight days ago while on a foot patrol in Nakhonay, a village 18 kilometres southwest of Kandahar.  An improvised explosive device planted by insurgents detonated, wounding Pinksen and another soldier. Both were serving with the battle group centred on 1st Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment.

From the Canadian Forces release:

Cpl Pinksen was treated on scene and evacuated by helicopter to the Role 3 Multi-National Medical Facility at Kandahar Airfield then subsequently moved to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre in Germany.  He arrived in Ramstein, Germany on 25 August and succumbed to his injuries earlier today at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

- srbp -


25 July 2010

A view into the afghan War

1.  A leaked document describing events at Combat Outpost Keating and Observation Post Fritschie is posted at the New York Times website. The Taliban attack occurred on 03 October 2009, opening at night with fire from a B-10 recoilless rifle.

2.  Part One of an interview conducted on 14 Oct 09 with a participant in the battle.

3.  Stills from COP Keating with some night vision footage at about 3:30 from the events on 03 Oct.

4.  Previous attacks on COP Keating turned up in a CBS News report on 05 Oct 09.

5. This video – labelled “Kamdesh Firefight 2010” -  appears to be an attack on COP Keating.

19 July 2010

Semrau guilty on one count; not guilty on all others

A Canadian Forces court martial found Captain Robert Semrau guilty of behaving in a cruel or disgraceful manner on Monday but found him not guilty second degree murder, attempted murder and negligent performance of a duty.

The infantry officer faced charges arising out of the death of a wounded insurgent in Afghanistan.

Under s. 93 of the National Defence Act, an individual “who behaves in a cruel or disgraceful manner is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to less punishment.”

- srbp -

26 March 2010

From the safety of the ivory tower

Some professors at the University of Regina don’t like a scholarship for the children of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

They argue it “glorifies imperialism” and:

“It conflates heroism with the death of individuals who are in the military service and we think that the death of individuals is always a tragic matter, but we think that heroism is something different,”

Lots of people conflate lots of things but in this case one is tempted to suggest that the learned ones at Regina U have conflated their thoughts with anything approaching reason.

But in light of these thoughts offered from the prairies, one wonders what the view is at the administrative level at a university that is part of the scholarship program, a university built as a lasting memorial to men who gave their lives in military and naval service.

Noreen Golfman, Memorial University’s managerially-challenged grad studies dean, wrote a piece for the now defunct Independent back in  January 2007 in which she vented her frustration over the prevalence of images from the war in Afghanistan during the holiday season:

Every time you opened a newspaper or listened to the news, especially on the CBC, you were compelled to reach for the box of tissues. If it wasn’t a story about some poor sod’s legs being blown off then it was an extended interview with some dead soldier’s parents. Indulging in another bite of dark chocolate was meant to be more painful this year. Here, have a plate of guilt with your second helping, my dear, and pass the self-reproach.

Golfman also lamented the lack of protest in her typically insightful way:

What in the world is going on? Where are the protest songs of yesteryear? I guess, when General Rick “MUN graduate” Hillier invites you to come along and share the joy ride you have to join up faster than you can say “Bob Hope is dead.” Reading Mercer’s widely circulated piece on the joys of serving gravy to the grateful Canadian boys was almost as painful as watching Peter MacKay flirt with Condoleezza “Condee” Rice.

One wonders if then Professor Golfman, now Dean Golfman, still holds the same miserable opinion of the men and women who served in Afghanistan.  Some of them might be graduates of Memorial or, mercy sakes, might even be graduate students there.

Does she share the  views of academics at Regina? Did she offer her opinion of the Project Hero scholarship before memorial endorsed it?

Perhaps she might be moved to offer a comment if she has the time, that is, coping with the financial mess in the grad studies school.


Related:  Rick Mercer’s answer to Golfman.

31 October 2008

CHC wins US DOD contract in Afghanistan?

It looks like Canadian Helicopters Limited (TSX: CHL.UN) will provide helicopter support to American forces in Afghanistan, according to David Pugliese.

The company is advertising for commercial helicopter pilots able to fly the company's Bell 212 on general support missions, that is, tasks that don't involve combat flying.  Qualifications are:

Bell 212 endorsement & experience; Current mountain experience; Current slinging & vertical reference experience; Instrument experience considered an asset; Eligible for international travel; Candidates must be bondable; Screening for a ‘secret’ level security pass required; Good communication skills and a positive attitude required; Ability to work within a group environment.


06 February 2008

Fail to plan...

Plan to fail.

It's an old military axiom.

That's why it was surprising when CanWest called last week to discuss a story they were working on in which the Department of National Defence said he didn't have any casualty estimates or projections for the mission in Afghanistan.

Runs contrary to everything your humble e-scribbler knows about armies anywhere, let alone the Canadian version of the beast. Even on a road trip to training ranges at Mackinsons, there'd be provisions for a road accident or for a cut or scrape. There'd be a casualty estimate - even if it was zero - and there'd be contingency plans to deal with what would occur if something went off the rails.

But no cas estimates at all?

Sheeet, in the work up for a possible deployment to the Persian Gulf in 1990, the Canadian army included a casualty estimate in Contingency Operations Plan Broadsword.

In a 1995 international exercise, casualty estimates were prepared as part of the normal planning routine. That situation was a bit special since the public affairs officers on the exercise - role-playing media - used their knowledge of the military world to ask questions most journalists would miss.

The media briefer - somewhat inexperienced with reporters - talked frankly about the whole thing, referring to a certain number of casualties as light. In his world, they were light. To the rest of us out here in the world, the numbers he used would be considered appalling. They actually weren't appalling, but civilian sensibilities have changed with 60-odd years of peace.

Anyway, said senior officer learned the value of picking words carefully and understanding how his audiences out beyond the tent flaps might respond.

But he had casualty estimates.

His successor apparently goes to morning prayers with his boss and smiles like Dr. Flox, er, an idiot: "No sir, no casualties. None. Nada. And we know because we didn't prepare a casualty estimate."

Sounds like every anal ops officer or J7 plans guy you'd ever meet.

19 August 2007

Soldier killed in Afghanistan

Private Simon Longtin was killed in Afghanistan yesterday when the vehicle in which he was riding struck an improvised explosive device.

Private Longtin served with Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment.

Private Longtin's remains will be returned to Canada in several days. A recent story from the Globe and Mail, discusses part of the journey.


04 July 2007

Bad timing? No. Just bad Layton policy

Forget the appalling timing of Jack Layton falsely accusing NATO forces of indiscriminately killing Afghan civilians on the same day that terrorists killed six Canadian soldiers and their Afghan interpreter.


Focus instead on Layton's accusation.

He could have focused on the real problem, namely the terrorists. It's not like he used to criticize the terrorists whose suicide bombers slaughtered more innocent Afghan civilians than Canadian soldiers.

Or it's not like Jack criticized the terrorists who deliberately infiltrated Afghan villages when attacking NATO forces just so that they could produce the Afghan civilian deaths Layton is concerned about.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is rightly criticizing NATO forces but unlike Layton, Karzai is not crassly politicking over the bodies of the dead. Karzai doesn't want the Taliban to win. The same can't necessarily be said of Layton.

And before the e-mails and comments come from NDP supporters taking exception to pointing out the appalling comments Layton made, consider Layton's own releases and their shameless partisan appeal.

From the one on Afghan casualties:
In the upcoming by-elections, voters will finally have an opportunity to have their say on Canada’s involvement in this mission.

The choice is clear.

They can vote for parties that got us into this mission, extended this mission, or who want it to go on another two years – or they can vote for the NDP.
And then from the release issued an hour later on the deaths of six Canadian soldiers:

Canadian soldiers never die in vain when they are killed in the line of duty. All Canadian soldiers deserve our utmost respect for their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Yeah, Jack, they do die in vain. Every single time a Canadian politician issues a pair of releases like these.


07 May 2007

CF in Afghanistan to get new mine protected vehicles

The Canadian Forces will be taking delivery of 10 Buffalo and Coyote mine protected vehicles.

The Buffalo is an engineering vehicle equipped with a remotely controlled arm for inspecting and detonating improvised explosives of the type that killed eight Canadian soldiers in separate incidents over the past two months.

25 April 2007

Why there won't be a federal election this spring

1. Canada's New Government apparently has trouble with fax machines.

2. There is a brewing Afghanistan controversy that will hurt everywhere, but especially in Quebec.

14 April 2007

Soldiering on

An unidentified soldier salutes the remains of two comrades as they are loaded on Canadian Forces aircraft bringing them back to Canada.

The soldier is from an unspecified community in Conception Bay, Newfoundland.

11 April 2007

Names of latest fatalities released

The Canadian Forces has released the names of two Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan:
OTTAWA – The names of the two Canadian soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on April 11, 2007 are as follows:

Master Corporal Allan Stewart, The Royal Canadian Dragoons, based in Petawawa, Ont.; and,

Trooper Patrick James Pentland, The Royal Canadian Dragoons, based in Petawawa, Ont.

These two soldiers were killed and two others were injured, one seriously, when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle earlier today. The incident occurred shortly before 8 p.m. Kandahar time, approximately 38 km west of Kandahar City. The soldiers had been assisting another vehicle that had been struck by a roadside bomb earlier in the day, one soldier suffered only minor injuries in this earlier attack.
This brings to eight the number of soldiers killed in the past four days by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). According to some news reports, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of IEDs.
"Starting about a week ago we have been finding IEDs on all the roads around here pretty much every single day," said Maj. Steve Graham of the Royal Canadian Dragoons.

"The fact there has been a spike of IEDs tells me that the places we are going and things we have been doing are starting to hit closer to the areas the Taliban have been working in."

Roadside bombs, random rocket attacks and suicide bombers are the main dangers Canadian troops face so far this year in their efforts to bring security to Kandahar province.
The job of finding and disposing of IEDs is dangerous as this story from the Globe attests.


09 April 2007

St. Lawrence native among the dead

Kevin Kennedy, right [Photo: Canadian Forces Combat Camera] is among the six soldiers killed in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Kennedy was a private soldier with Second Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Update: A second soldier from Newfoundland and Labrador has been identified among the six dead in Afghanistan.

Sergeant Donald Lucas, left, was originally from St. John's.

08 April 2007

Six soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Six soldiers from the Royal Canadian Regiment battle group in Afghanistan were killed today and two were injured in a roadside bomb explosion.

Update: 2350 NDT. DND releases names of five of the six dead.


03 April 2007

New Leo 2s for Canadian Army in Afghanistan

Canadian Forces will be leasing 20 Leopard 2A6Ms for service in Afghanistan.

The new tanks will replace a squadron of 30 year old Leopard 1 tanks currently deployed.