Canadian Forces Deal Taliban Another Blow in Kandahar (Updated)

Operation Medusa nets another 186 Taliban; initial report of bombmaking cell in Kabul confirmed

The Taliban in the Panjwai district west of Kandahar City have suffered another round of massive casualties. The Royal Canadian Regiment, combined with Coalition air power, killed 186 Taliban fighters dug into fixed positions in the Pashmul region during two sperate engagements, bringing the nine day total of over 510 Taliban killed and 80 captured in 8 days of Operation Medusa. These are massive losses for a Taliban force estimated at around 10,000 fighters (12,000 by the Taliban’s own count). The Canadian Army has suffered 5 killed in combat of the course of the week.

Elements of the Royal Canadian Regiment are now digging into the Panjwai and Zhari districts, indicating they will remain in the region. This will benefit the military situation in the short term by allowing for more flexibility and a permanent security presence in region, as well as facilitate the reconstruction mission in the future, an important component in restoring stability in the region.

Despite the recent success of Operation Medusa, the New Democratic Part overwhelmingly voted to begin a withdrawal from Afghanistan. While the NDP is a minority party in Canada, the seeds of the erosion of public support for the mission in Afghanistan have been planted. This fits in the Taliban’s plans to fracture NATO. Canadian will has been specifically targeted. “We think that when we kill enough Canadians, they will quit war and return home,” said Taliban spokesman Qari Yuosaf Ahmedi, in late April of 2006.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has “This cell is alive and working and remains very much a threat,” said Colonel Tom Collins, the military spokesman in Kabul. This is a story we first broke on September 8 after the attack on a U.S. Army convoy near the U.S. Embassy in the capital. A suicide bomber struck in Gardez, the capital of Paktia. Abdul Hakim Taniwal , the provincial governor, and his nephew and a body guard were killed in the attack. Al-Qaeda is stepping up its presence in Afghanistan, with suicide attacks and roadside bombings now on the rise.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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8 Comments

  • DJ Elliott says:

    The Canadian left will call that a loss.
    100-1 is not good enough for them.
    I suppose the contingency planners in the five-sided rubber-room will have to increase the planned troop strength for the invasion of the “Great White North”.

  • Nicholas says:

    My father was watching the TV news here in Australia (I never watch it myself, and this is why).
    They stated casualties were “heavy on both sides”. I said.. excuse me?
    They mentioned nothing of how many Taliban were killed, only that there was a suicide bombing in Kabul, and that the Canadians were asking for more troops.
    If I wasn’t reading Mr. Roggio’s excellent reporting I would have to conclude that the Canadians were losing.

  • Beth says:

    I am a Canadian, currently attending graduate school in the US. First of all, I can speak for at least a few Canadians when I say that a 100:1 kill ratio is AMAZING, and Canadian soldiers are truly a force to be reckoned with. There is a large, less vocal, portion of Canadians whose will will not be so easily shaken.
    Second, when I watch the TV news here (something I do only to keep tabs on what everyone else is hearing), I hear NO MENTION of Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan. Everything is “US soldiers engaged Taliban forces…”. Do the people in the US know the role Canada is playing in Afghanistan? Shouldn’t they know? Couldn’t knowledge of this truly “coalition” effort (when so many are so fond of portraying the US as in on this war alone) only help to strengthen the American political will?

  • Blaise MacLean says:

    I guess I am following up on Beth because I had similar thoughts.
    I am a Canadian working in South America. My English language TV news is limited to CNN International, BBC and Fox.
    To me, things feel as though they have begun to realign correctly…once again Canadian soldiers are fighting alongside their/our traditional allies…The British and the Americans. Somehow it feels “right”.
    Yet, “plus ca change, plus ca meme chose”. Just as in previous wars, the Canadian contribution seems to be largely ignored in the US and UK. A big deal was made by the media, particularly by the US media, when the Canadian government chose NOT to participate in Iraq II, yet when Canadian troops participate aggressively and effectively in Afghanistan, there is silence.
    Sometimes it seems almost deliberate.
    That said, “Character is what we do when no one is looking”; Canada is in Afghanistan not to become a star on CNN but because it is the right thing to do.

  • Gerry says:

    Could it be Canadas accomplishments are being ignored by the Canadian press? Are they even in Afganistan? Or it just could be “if it bleeds it leads” and Canada hasn’t been bloodied enough at this point. What the other side suffers isn’t considered important news.

  • Blaise MacLean says:

    No, they’re certainly not being ignored in the Canadian Press. CP, CTV, and the Globe and Mail, for example, have had reporterd alongside the Canadians (I’mnot sure about the CBC, as I am working outside the country).
    Also, Mr. Roggio has covered their efforts well both here and on Counterterrorism Blog.

  • Beth says:

    I do think the Canadian media has been misleading about the nature of the Canadian military. With the exception of some of this new coverage of Afghanistan, the media would have us believe that the Canadian military is overwhelmingly a peacekeeping force. In reality, just 8% of Canadian troops are involved in peacekeeping.
    But from what I hear from family and friends in Canada, there is an overwhelming emphasis on the Canadian dead in the war coverage — and very little on strategy or accomplishments. But why bore the Canadian public with those kinds of details I guess? In the words of one Liberal politician, we’d rather be “drinking beer and eating popcorn”. And in accordance with the sentiments of many NDPers, we should leave the details and the facts to the government…

  • Jason Dimmell says:

    If I remember correctly, the United States Army had a 10:1 kill ratio in Vietnam. Even if the Canadian troops managed a doubling of this ratio I would be surprised. But 100:1? I have a hard time believing that unconfirmed number. I’m sorry, but dug-in defensive positions in urban combat can inflict much higher casualties than have been reported. Something just does’nt add up….are they counting all dead as insurgents?

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