NATO Wants Canadian Troops Back in Afghanistan

The Background

Canada’s military mission to Afghanistan officially ended three years ago, but now NATO has put out a request for police trainers to support their local forces. While Canada prides itself on stepping up, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Canada is “looking at all aspects of support” for Afghanistan, but cannot look at any country in isolation”. In August, Sajjan announced that Canada would allocate 600 troops and $450 million over three years to a peacekeeping mission. Where the mission will take place has yet to be announced, but Sajjan has already ruled out Afghanistan as it’s not a UN mission. CTV

Why You Should Care

Since 2014, Canada has contributed $227 million to international development programs in Afghanistan and $330 million to Afghan National Security Forces. Over the 12-year mission, 158 Canadian troops were killed. “Afghanistan is a place that Canadians have invested both money and blood. We continue to invest money there. If a return was in Canadian defence future, it would be to a familiar zone,” said Retired General Tom Lawson, former chief of defence staff. So it’s not a no, but there’s a lot to be considered before making the commitment.

What’s Next?

While Canada mulls over NATO’s request, the Canadian military is already leading a mission in Latvia to deter Russian aggression in the Baltic, which is expected to cost $348.5 million over the next three years.