Canada’s bloody summer

After weeks of resisting, the Canadian government has now agreed to a parliamentary debate on the mission to Afghanistan. Canada has about 2300 troops in Afghanistan and is one of three NATO countries with the guts to send troops into Afghanistan’s southern badlands (Britain and the Netherlands are the others). It’s the first time NATO troops have ...

By , a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.
608962_canada_afghanistan5.jpg
608962_canada_afghanistan5.jpg

After weeks of resisting, the Canadian government has now agreed to a parliamentary debate on the mission to Afghanistan. Canada has about 2300 troops in Afghanistan and is one of three NATO countries with the guts to send troops into Afghanistan's southern badlands (Britain and the Netherlands are the others). It's the first time NATO troops have been deployed to Taliban strongholds. New Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper made a dramatic trip to Afghanistan shortly after his election to bolster public support for the dangerous mission. But opposition politicans have been squawking about how the deployment is now shifting from peacekeeping to warfighting and have demanded -- and now been granted -- a full debate.

The debate will be non-binding, but it could be an important bellweather; NATO troops in the south are in for a tough and likely bloody summer as Taliban remnants test their mettle. It's understandable that opposition politicans are wary. But what's their solution? It often appears that they want the Americans to do all the rough stuff while their troops rebuild schools in secure areas of the country. 

After weeks of resisting, the Canadian government has now agreed to a parliamentary debate on the mission to Afghanistan. Canada has about 2300 troops in Afghanistan and is one of three NATO countries with the guts to send troops into Afghanistan’s southern badlands (Britain and the Netherlands are the others). It’s the first time NATO troops have been deployed to Taliban strongholds. New Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper made a dramatic trip to Afghanistan shortly after his election to bolster public support for the dangerous mission. But opposition politicans have been squawking about how the deployment is now shifting from peacekeeping to warfighting and have demanded — and now been granted — a full debate.

The debate will be non-binding, but it could be an important bellweather; NATO troops in the south are in for a tough and likely bloody summer as Taliban remnants test their mettle. It’s understandable that opposition politicans are wary. But what’s their solution? It often appears that they want the Americans to do all the rough stuff while their troops rebuild schools in secure areas of the country. 

David Bosco is a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of The Poseidon Project: The Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist

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