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Friday, March 11, 2011

Canada's next role.. in Afghanistan... the OMLT in Kabul

Canadian Forces will turn a new corner in the goal of training the Afghan military and the police

This year Canadians will return to Kabul in force this time with the mandate of training the Afghan police and military in the profession of arms.   

Camp Julien as it sits today.
We created a military base in the southern part of the city called camp Julien that was the envy of all the nations that were based in the city.   Not only was the food excellent it provided immediate access to the nearby Camp Darlaman which was one of the main training camps for the Afghan National Army  (ANA).  After the move to Kandahar the base was closed and handed over to the Afghans.
LAV III in front of the Kings Palace
A man flees the area as a bomb in a vehicle explodes in Kabul this image taken from TV Monday Jan. 18, 2010. Taliban militants struck the heart of the Afghan government in Kabul on Monday, prompting fierce gun battles after a suicide bomber blew himself up near the presidential palace.   

7 July 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul that killed 41 people -- four Indians (two diplomats) and 37 Afghans
The Canadian Embassy is in a wealthy neighbourhood and is well protected... the question is will the trainers be as well protected and the simple answer is no.  But as soldiers we are trained for the risks and are prepared for the next stage of our mission.
Suicide bombing near the Kings Palace

Canadian military deaths in Kabul have been minimal but not to the families, friends and comrades.   

Col. Geoff Parker, 42, of Oakville, Ont., died in the Kabul attack.

Colonel Geoff Parker killed on  18 May 2010

Cpl Jamie Murphy killed by a suicide bomber  26 Jan 2004
Corporal Robbie Christopher Beerenfenger

Corporal Robbie Christopher Beerenfenger killed on 2 October 2003

Sergeant Robert Alan Short

Sergeant Robert Alan Short killed on 2 October 2003

Small un -armoured Iltis jeep destroyed in Kabul

Iltis Kabul 2003
Canadian Forces are also much better equipped then when we were in Kabul in 2003 to 2005.  From un armoured iltis jeeps to Mercedes Gwagens, LAV's and now Nyalas and RG33.  The enemy will have to step up to this new challenge.  Which vehicles the Canadians will use is up in the air and will depend on the security situation and the numbers of troops deployed at various training bases in Kabul.
Light Utility Vehicle Wheeled (LUVW) Gwagen
Scene of the roadside bomb incident where four Canadian Forces soldiers were killed. (image: Combat Camera / Department of National Defence)
LUVW Gwagen that was destroyed in 2006
RG 31 Nyala with remote control weapon systems
RG 31 Nyala that did its job
LAV III  in Kandahar and is excellant in the urban environment and provides maximum firepower
A Canadian armored vehicle is seen after the suicide bombing in Kandahar, Afghanistan on Friday March 3, 2006. (AP / Noor Khan)
LAV III can also sustain damage and people can die... there is only so much protection

Operational Mentor and Liaison Team, or otherwise known as Omelette(OMLT)
The training program will be tough but the enemy should never be underestimated.  They will attack and have done so wherever we are.  They also know now that the Canadians are a military to be reckoned with and will try and make us bleed.  
Canadian NCOs are respected teachers. Sergeant John Hawtin of the Embedded Training Team (ETT), teaches Afghani soldiers the principles of Observation Posts during a training session, Kabul 2004.
We are resourceful and we will succeed side by side with our Afghan allies.

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