US embassy cable - 07TORONTO439

FORMER CANADIAN KANDAHAR COMMANDER MAKES CASE FOR AFGHAN MISSION

Identifier: 07TORONTO439
Wikileaks: View 07TORONTO439 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Toronto
Created: 2007-11-02 18:57:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: MOPS PGOV PREL PTER CA AF
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO6917
OO RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHON #0439 3061857
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021857Z NOV 07
FM AMCONSUL TORONTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2241
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0006
RUCNCAN/ALCAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0006
UNCLAS TORONTO 000439 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CAN, SCA/A, and EUR/RPM 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: MOPS, PGOV, PREL, PTER, CA, AF 
SUBJECT: FORMER CANADIAN KANDAHAR COMMANDER MAKES CASE FOR AFGHAN 
MISSION 
 
 
Sensitive but Unclassified - please protect accordingly. 
 
1. (SBU) Speaking before the Toronto-based Canadian Institute for 
International Affairs on November 2, Major General Tim Grant, 
recently returned from a stint as commander of Canadian Forces 
troops in Afghanistan, encouraged patience and highlighted progress 
in Canada's mission in Afghanistan.  Grant, while refusing to 
comment directly on when the Canadian troops could be withdrawn, 
encouraged a long-term view of the Afghanistan mission. 
 
2. (SBU) Grant compared the Canadian-led "Operation Medusa" in the 
fall of 2006, with recent fighting in areas to the north of Kandahar 
as a measure of progress.  During "Medusa," Canadian troops fought 
without Afghan assistance against nearly 2,000 well armed and 
motivated Taliban fighters. In the last few months, many combat 
engagements have been led by Afghan National Army (ANA) troops 
against far fewer and less enthusiastic Taliban.  Grant attributed 
this success to Canadian programs which paid potential Taliban 
fighters a living wage to engage in manual labor and restore 
irrigation infrastructure in the Kandahar area.  Grant also 
highlighted the important role of civilian agencies such as the 
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in building 
civilian governance capacity in the region. 
 
3. (SBU) Though generally positive in his assessment of the Afghan 
military, Grant termed Afghan police a "basket case."  He pointed to 
efforts by Corrections Canada in improving prison conditions (a 
controversial issue in the Canadian press) and measures to bring 
police salaries in line with ANA compensation as indicators that 
Canada and coalition forces were beginning to get a firmer handle on 
policing issues.  Grant highlighted RCMP "in-service" refresher 
training to Afghan police as critical to longer-term success. 
 
4. (SBU) Grant deflected questions about timelines for an eventual 
Canadian withdrawal but predicted that the ANA would be able to 
function independently on a tactical level by 2009.  Strategic 
components of the Afghan military, such as airlift capability and 
command and staff training, will likely require outside assistance 
for the foreseeable future, he said. 
 
5. (SBU) COMMENT:  Grant's presentation to a largely friendly 
audience was designed to highlight the progress Canada has made in 
the Kandahar region.  Beyond oblique suggestions that much Canadian 
media coverage was not appropriately positive, Grant wisely refused 
to engage on the controversial questions such as withdrawal 
timelines, NATO burden-sharing, or human rights abuses in Afghan 
prisons.  END COMMENT. 
 
NAY 

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