Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Canadian Mission in Afghanistan

My name is Anthony Farris and I will deploy to Kandahar, Afghanistan at the beginning of August 2007 as a legal advisor with the Canadian Operational Mentor Liaison Team (OMLT). The Canadian OMLT is a capacity building unit tasked with mentoring 205 Corps of the Afghan National Army (ANA) in order to train and mentor Afghan officers and soldiers in order that they may be able to assume future responsibility for the safety and security of Afghanistan. My role over the next six months is to mentor Afghan military legal advisors with 205 Corps of the ANA in the areas of military justice, rules of engagement and the laws of armed conflict. Although the Canadian Forces have been engaged in combat operations in the southern part of Afghanistan for close to two years, various capacity-building functions, including the OMLT, have also been performed in order to assist the Afghan government in rebuilding the war-torn nation.

The purpose of this blog is to provide my friends and family with weekly updates on my work, my well being and also to give them a basic idea of what life is like for deployed military soldier living at the Kandahar Airfield (KAF) in southern Afghanistan. It is a chance for them to discover the numerous sacrifices made by our Canadian troops without having to experience it firsthand. Therefore, I encourage you to bookmark this site and check back once a week and take a bit of time to read and think about what I have written.

With that said, it is my belief that this blog could be used as an information resource for many Canadians who wish to know what our soldiers must endure while they are deployed to Afghanistan. Therefore, I also encourage you to pass this blog along to your friends and family regardless of whether I know them or not. It is my hope that what I write can help others to understand what our troops must face and how they continue to perform their jobs as true professionals despite the austere conditions that they face each day.

Finally, while preparing for my deployment I have spoken with various friends and family about the Canadian mission in Afghanistan and although it comes as no surprise that Canadian involvement in Afghanistan is directly related to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many people do not fully understand how the mission has developed and have various misconceptions about why Canada is in Afghanistan and where we fit in. Therefore, I will provide a very brief overview of how Canadian involvement has unfolded since 2001.

Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty which states that an armed attack against any NATO member shall be considered as an attack against all members. Subsequently, various NATO members acting in individual and collective self-defense provided support to the US-led campaign against terrorism. In order to eliminate the threat posed by Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Canada contributed various military troops and equipment to the international force being formed for the campaign against terrorism.

Following this initial commitment, in 2003, Canada further contributed military troops to the UN sanctioned International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) which was mandated to maintain the security of Kabul and its surrounding areas, so that the Afghan Interim Authority, as well as the personnel of the United Nations, could operate in a secure environment. Near the end of 2005, the Canadian contingent was moved from the capital of Kabul, located in the north, to the volatile south, where Canada once again operated as a part of the US-led campaign against terrorism.

Subsequently, in July of 2006, NATO assumed command of the southern part of Afghanistan as a part of a UN sanctioned plan for the staged expansion of ISAF throughout all of Afghanistan. Currently, approximately 2500 Canadian personnel serve as a part of the UN sanctioned, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. The current Canadian commitment as a part of ISAF is set to expire in February of 2009.

If you would like to contact me, or if you have any specific questions that you would like me to answer, please send me an e-mail at

Please check back around the middle of August for my next update, and remember to wear red on Fridays.

Fiat Justitia


Valerie said...

My Dear Son, As always I am very proud of you. You are a strong and committed man, and the world needs more of you. I will see you in Feb. upon your safe return. I love you, Mom

Anonymous said...

Hey Anthony, can't wait for your frist update! Also when you get back the frist drink is on me.

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