Juggling chainsaws

Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, February 16Canada’s army is being pushed to the limit by the strains of keeping a 2,700-strong military mission in Afghanistan and the force will need at least a year to recover once the troops return on schedule in 2011, the top army commander said on Monday … Leslie said men and equipment in Afghanistan were wearing out fast and likened his job to juggling a chain saw. “We are at the limit … we are now sending senior noncommissioned officers and officers back for their fourth tour,” he told Reuters in an interview at Canada’s defense headquarters. “Our equipment is going to have to be reset, just like our soldiers have to be reset at a certain time.” Leslie said that once the troops had returned, it would take between 12 and 16 months to restore the army’s full fighting capability.

Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, October 13The Canadian force is due to pull out in 2011. However, Gen-Leslie told The Independent that after spending £3bn on new equipment including armour and helicopters, and an upsurge in recruiting, his force would be ready to continue with the mission if ordered to do so by the government in Ottawa … The commander said that following losses inflicted by the Taliban, “we took a long, hard look at what needed to be done and I think we are now the best equipped of all Nato troops in Afghanistan”.

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