Did Canadian troops bulldoze an Afghan village? - Macleans.ca

Did Canadian troops bulldoze an Afghan village?

If only we had a period during which the opposition could question the government about such things


Soldiers of Alpha Company(A Coy) watch as an engineer bulldozer clears away rubble in the Panjwaii District of Kandahar Province as part of Operation MEDUSA.

Given how keen the press gallery and the loyal opposition were, last year, to establish that Canada had committed war crimes in Afghanistan, I’m surprised that Carlotta Gall’s piece from the NYTimes this weekend has been ignored up here. The article is about how much suspicion American troops are encountering as they move to secure the Panjwaii district in Kandahar. The locals are pissed because they’ve been trapped for five years between insurgents and “coalition” forces, namely, Canadians:

Three years ago, Canadian troops built a temporary post near Lora. When they immediately came under fire from insurgents, they bulldozed much of the hamlet, flattening houses, water pumps and surrounding orchards, the villagers and local elders say.

“There were 10 families who had houses there that were totally destroyed, and mulberry trees were taken out by their roots,” Mr. Hamid said in a recent interview in Kandahar city. “They destroyed all these things, and we are unable to replace them.”

Is it true? Canadian officials won’t say:

Press officers for Canadian forces, who have led operations in Kandahar Province for the past four years, and the Afghan district administration said they could not confirm the destruction. But a provincial councilor, landowners and farmers from the area said at least half the hamlet was demolished. A year later the Canadians dismantled the post and left, but the village remains deserted, the villagers said.

And of course, both Afghans fighting for compensation, and NYT reporters looking for information, have to parkour their way through the now-customary Canadian government communications obstacle course:

Yet fighting through the bureaucracy seems just as hard for the Afghans. Lt. Kelly Rozenberg-Payne, a public affairs officer with the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command in Ottawa, wrote by e-mail that she had no information to support the allegations that Lora was bulldozed.

But she acknowledged the existence of an “austere platoon house” in the area, which Canadian forces upgraded to a substation for the Afghan police in the spring of 2008. It was dismantled in the fall of 2008 “because of changing operational priorities,” she wrote.

If only we had a period during which the opposition could question the government about such things.


Did Canadian troops bulldoze an Afghan village?

  1. Canadians haven't been boy scouts for a long time now….in spite of the BS we are given about 'winning hearts and minds'.

    It's all about connecting with our 'inner warrior', you see.

    • Yes, we've come a long, dark way from when Canadian soldiers, sailors, and airmen handed out hugs and friendship bracelets to those misunderstood German fellows during their senior year swan 'cross The Continent. And the RCR and PPCLI infantry troops who sang karaoke and braided the hair of their Red Chinese and DPRK schoolchums on their Korean ski trip must be just horrified that this war business has devolved into fisticuffs and harsh language.

    • Reality check: during the 60s & 70s (Kaiser Trudeau's era), the soldiers stationed both in 4CMBG in Germany and back here in Canada were training to kill any & all Russians sent through the Fulda Gap. Throughout the 80's and 90's, when the Land Force wasn't stuck in some blue beret lunancy and watching a PM put on a Kevlar helmet (painted Unlimited Nepotism blue) backwards, it continued training to close with and destroy those who would, say, kill Canadian citizens without provocation for not bowing to the correct god and his prophet (PBUH).
      As Uncle Rick made plain, our mission in Kandahar has been to kill anti-coalition forces like the Taliban, AQ, & HiG. Essentially, NATO's mission concept has been buying time and space for the weak indigs that constitute the majority to grow some stones and start containing the muj and their hangers-on through the mass of public institutions. NATO is well aware that you can't buy an Afghan, but only rent one. Unfortunately the lawyers posing as adult descision-makers don't understand that, and thus insist on this 'hearts and minds' tripe to make pretty copy below the fold.

      • Reality check….we do peacekeeping. Canadians have made that clear.

        You must have missed it over the sound of beating your chest.

        • I'm wondering if you know what 'peacekeeping' is, Emily? And yes, I've served tours.

      • Well said, Four Zero, and dead on.

      • Excellent. This should be copied many many times. Only nit wits believe the peacekeeping garbage successful Liberals have thrown about for half a century ..what a load of old bunny . If our people were permitted to know the half of it, from Cyprus to Kosevo, they'd thank their secular touchstones for hard men standing on a wall whilst they sleep.

  2. Thank you so much Andrew for pointing out this article.

    I was extremely struck by the paragraph:

    "Three years ago, Canadian troops built a temporary post near Lora. When they immediately came under fire from insurgents, they bulldozed much of the hamlet, flattening houses, water pumps and surrounding orchards, the villagers and local elders say."

    I have harped on this many times on the macleans.ca comment boards and elsewhere that we in Canada just do not get any true information on the daily operational realities of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.

    Whether one is for or against our engagement in Afghanistan we, as an open and democratic society, need information to come to an appropriate decision. Just as the incident described above does not leave a very positive impression so too might there be incredible acts of bravery and positive interaction with the Afghan population. WE JUST DON'T KNOW!

    • All we get in this country is the stock "Support the Tropps" piffle and then a whole lot of nothing and then the sadness of a soldier being killed by an IED followed by a ramp ceremony. And people wear their red riboons and wave the flag and stand and overpasses on a declared Highway of Heroes.

      And this government considers the Tamil Tigers and Hamas to be death cults?

    • Whether one is for or against our engagement in Afghanistan we, as an open and democratic society, need information to come to an appropriate decision.

      I applaud you.

      Information needs to be free. In every sense of the phrase.

  3. The government doesnt answer questions in QP. There is no point in anyone asking anything. Committees are the closest thing we have to accountability.

    • Thankfully there's a manual in print to shut those down, too.

  4. I was thinking more along the lines of "It's a shame we don't have reporters who ask questions of LOCALS instead of just going from military PR officer to Afghan government flunky."

  5. I'm sure this has nothing to do with the Afghan cottage industry of manufacturing an outrage committted by the white devil occupiers for which only a thick stack of greenbacks could every possibly hope to settle the debt of honour owed. Packaged with, of course, a negligible adminstration fee for the village elders to ensure the compensation gets properly distributed amongst the aggreived parties of the district.

    Nor would this unproven ALLEGATION printed as a 'story' have anything to do with a mainstream reporter manufacturing a completely unsupported shock 'n awe story about the white devil occupiers to up the hit count on the 'news' page to suck up more ad revenue, or appeasing the fifth columnists wanting to hear about all the evil, vile warcrimes those white devil (and race traitor minority) infant murderers wearing a uniform like to commit every few days, just to chase away the boredom.

    What utter equine manure. If MacLean's had any shame, they would feel it over 'sharing' something this transparently idiotic.

    • When you grow up, you'll be embarrassed to remember you posted comments like that.

      • Awww, that's cute, I see the horribily clever little thing you did there to marginalize an understanding of the world based on reality on the ground. I guess any opinion that doesn't coincide with whatever passes for reality in your little hermetic bubble-sealed corner of your neutered fantasy of Canada is "immature". That sum it up?

        Does it cause you any cognitive dissonance at *all* that you can believe Dubya and (dundunduuuuuuuh) Cheney (dundunduuuuuuuh) had planes flown into the WTC to make Hailiburton and KBR larger profit margins, but refuse to even contenence the reality that Afghans started to fabricate stories of woe and aggravated grievance left right and center the moment TPTB made the idiot descision to start paying out what amounts to almost yearly AFH salaries to shut up any herdsman who had a goat wander in front of an IFV moving at speed? Jackson and Sharpton aren't the only people in the world who get that liberal white guilt plus hovering press equals KA-CHING.

        Follow the money to find the truth. Grown ups understand that.

    • Thank you from one warrior to another…..

  6. Smearing Canadian or any other troops from civilized countries is a standard practice at the New York Times, they will make it sound as though coalition forces have little regard for the locals – a completely false and ignorant accusation, but nonetheless great fun for idiot liberal 'journalists'.

    Modifying an outpost in hostile territory so our guys don't get killed makes a lot of sense, they should do more of it, not less.

    Canadian troops have conducted themselves with honour and integrity in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Fortunately, 30 years of failed 'peacekeeping' fantasies haven't destroyed the fabric of the forces.

    • Isn't the important question though whether "modifying an outpost" is an accurate description of what was done, or merely a euphemism for "bulldozing a village to the ground". I certainly agree that these accusations could very well end up being unfounded and malicious, but one could say that of ANY accusation in ANY context. It doesn't mean the allegation shouldn't be treated seriously until disproved.

  7. Well, Potter you ‘did a Hastings’ here on the Troops! Nice goin’ bud! No wonder you feel ‘stupid’…

  8. I read the New York Times article : http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/world/asia/17af

    and promptly copied and pasted the link in an e-mail to Stephen Harper and Peter McKay on Oct 17th

    Harper.S@parl.gc.ca, MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca

    TO stAN : the average income in Aghanistan is about $450.00 A YEAR. So what you might describe as "squalor" was a family's roof to keep the rain off , walls to make them them feel a little bit more secure in all the chaos. Have a heart.


  9. Little point, for all those oh-so-tough patriots. There's a difference between fighting an agressor and travelling thousands of miles to kill people because your half-ass government thinks that somehow, some way, this might possibly be in Canada's interests – and then having the gall to paint it as some sort of self-sacrificing mission for Democracy and Freedom. In the first case, you have an excuse for not playing nice. In the second, you're commiting what the Nurmerberg tribunals listed first among war crimes – aggression. The Afghans in those villages fall into two categories – those who never did us any harm, and those who resisted an invader, one who was doing a great deal of harm indeed. It's contemptible to get all manly about bullying these people.

    • Intensional…. hmmn… Being able to quote from Nuremberg while at the same time ducking RPG's and scraping whats left of your buddy's face off the side of your LAV can prove tough I am sure.. Nice that you feel so safe and secure never having to put yourself in harms way . You are ridiculous and living in a dream world.

  10. Watch for it : "Social Liberal" is code for pro-fusion of the libs and NDP.