Canada’s deployment to Afghanistan was a commitment to its NATO allies and a show of support to the Afghan people.
This month marks the tenth year of the largest deployment of Canadian military personnel since the Second World War. After the Terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, by al-Qaeda, Canada initially pledged its full support and contributed forces to the international fight against terrorism as part of the United States Led Operation Enduring Freedom.
Canada joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization led International Security Assistance Force dedicated to helping the Government of Afghanistan accept responsibility for security, governance, and development and to help the Afghan people rebuild their nation as a stable, self-sufficient society. Canada continues to aid security, development and humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan while also providing almost $3.7 billion in international assistance since 2001. Canada remains dedicated over the past 20 years to preserving the security, development, and human rights, more specifically the rights of women and girls.
Canada’s combat phase of the mission came to an end in July 2011, when it transitioned to training missions focusing on developing teaching skills in Afghanistan’s military and police force training institutions. This continued until March 2014 when the Canadian Armed Forces mission ended.
“Lasting nearly a decade, Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan was the longest in our military history, and the bravery demonstrated by every single Canadian who served there – military and civilian alike – is something we all have a duty to remember. Today, we honour the 165 Canadians killed in Afghanistan, and thank the more than 40,000 who answered the call to serve in support of peace and security in Afghanistan.”
-The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
More than 40,000 Canadians served in the Afghanistan theatre of operations with our first contribution coming in the form of deployment of warships to the waters off Southwest Asia in October of 2001. Our largest combat operation in over 50 years with more than 1,000 Canadians taking part in Kandahar was during the Operation Medusa in September 2006.
A total of 158 Canadian Armed Forces members died in service of Canada in Afghanistan, along with seven Canadian civilians; including a diplomat, four aid workers, a government contractor, and a journalist. Thousands more come back with physical and psychological wounds. This 10th year anniversary is a time to express our gratitude for the hard work that Canadians displayed in bringing greater balance to Afghanistan and boosting peace and security around the world.
Image from The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs.