Terry Glavin reports from Afghanistan....
Terry is now in Afghanistan, and here is his latest. He's one of the most knowledgeable experts on Afghanistan in Canada...
We're not quite on the home stretch, but still. When you look back at where we've been, and you look at the distance we've managed to travel over these long and bloody years, the picture looks anything but grim. Every inch of progress is precarious. We win ground and we lose ground. But we're winning, and anyone who can't see that just hasn't been paying attention.Please read the entire post. It's very urgent that we start a real debate in Canada about how we can help the Afghan people after our deployment ends.
This is now true even in Kandahar. With the exception of Pakistan's Federally-Administered Tribal Areas, Afghanistan's Kandahar province contains what is arguably the nastiest stretch of lawless and bandit-infested territory between Tehran and New Delhi. It is in Kandahar that Canada has made its greatest efforts and sacrifices in the UN-mandated, 42-nation effort to bring some semblance of peace, order and good government to the Afghan republic. It really is the "pointy end of the stick." But even in Kandahar, we're finally starting to see what the end of the tunnel looks like.
A couple of days back I had breakfast with Brigadier-General Daniel Menard, who recently assumed command of Canada's 2,800 soldiers in Afghanistan, along with another few hundred American soldiers from the 1st battalion of the U.S. Army's 12th Infantry.
Long before U.S. President Barack Obama's long-awaited troop surge announcement, American soldiers had been pouring into Kandahar, allowing Canada's soldiers to focus their efforts on securing an area of about 1,500 square kilometres around Kandahar City, which contains about 85 per cent of the province's population.
During our conversations, Menard was confident enough to say that to clear and hold Canada's area of operations, he didn't even need any more American soldiers.
"We need to marginalize the Taliban, to make it irrelevant. And I think that during our tenure, up to September of next year, we can do this. I certainly believe that by September of next year we can create an environment and identify a population that understands that there is another way of living. And it's not they don't want to. It's just that they'e been terrorized for so long."