Sunday, November 14, 2010

Much Confusion in a Small World

What does training mean?  Canada is about to commit 700 trainers plus support staff to Afghanistan after its combat forces pull out in July 2011.  Yet, the process in Ottawa has been so messy, that we really do not know what this training means, other than not in combat.  To get clarity, I guess we need to talk to the guys doing the training.  So, in this story, the Canadian general who is second in command of the NATO training effort, Major General Stu Beare, provides some clarity.  I interviewed Beare a few years ago as he had commanded a NATO sector in Bosnia.  Definitely more on the straight-talking side of the spectrum. 

So, it looks like the Canadians might not be in just one safe spot in Kabul, but spread around the country (perhaps not in Kandahar) to train the Afghan National Policy more so than the Afghan National Army.
"It doesn’t matter where they go. It’s the same mission with the same force protection. The training centres are all over the country because that is where the trainees are."
Beare makes clear that this will not be OMLT-eering: "The distinction between being a trainer and being a mentor in the field is fundamentally that the training-base mission is to give skills in a training environment that is safe, secure and protected," Beare said. Beare goes on to discuss the kinds of training and activities, and it does not sound like it will be just basic training stuff but more advanced skills.  This is good news as it means that the Canadian Forces can bring some added value.  Still, I think Harper is a weenie.

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