Dangers still abound for Canadians in Kabul
Published Sunday, July 10, 2011 10:09PM EDT
The risky combat mission may be over for Canadian troops in Afghanistan, but there is still the threat of danger for soldiers responsible for training local security personnel.
With their coaching, NATO forces hope the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police will be able to stand on their own by 2014. The United States alone is spending $1 billion every month on training, including literacy classes that call for each soldier to be able to read and write at a third-grade level.
But between a staggering learning curve and the persistent threat of the Taliban, many expect the next three years to be riddled with difficulty.
The Taliban, arguably NATO's most nagging problem, remains at close range.
"All you need is for one of them to be coerced, to be threatened, to be disgruntled and then you potentially have a problem on your hands," said Canadian Col. Peter Dawe.
Nearly 50 NATO soldiers have been killed by Afghan forces who have turned on them or gunmen disguised in military uniforms.
As Washington and its NATO allies steadily draw troops out of Afghanistan, insurgents have been staging fewer but more complex attacks.
In late June, Taliban militants armed with explosives took siege of a luxury hotel in Kabul. The highly-orchestrated InterContinental hotel attack raised several questions about Afghanistan's ability to handle its own security.
Brig. Gen. John Hammond with the U.S. Task Force said soldiers in Afghanistan face a revolving door of danger.
"With any force there are threats in Kabul every day of the week," Hammond told CTV News.
But NATO troops aren't the only ones confronted with significant risks.
Attrition is still high for Afghan security forces, who are routinely threatened and even murdered by insurgents.
With a report from CTV's South Asia Bureau Chief Janis Mackey Frayer