Roll up the Taliban to win?

DND photo AR2006-A031-0012d, Cpl Robin Mugridge

DND photo AR2006-A031-0012d, Cpl Robin Mugridge

Canada’s area of military responsibility in Afghanistan is being reduced to maintaining a security perimeter—described by one Canadian soldier as a “doughnut of stability”—around Kandahar City and conducting anti-Taliban operations in Arghandab district just to the northwest of the city, the Globe and Mail reports (see here and here). The new role will be shared with U.S. forces, some of which will be under Canadian command, operating as a joint “Canada-U.S. brigade”.

As part of the change, Canada will give up the sparsely populated regions of western Zari, western Panjwai, and southern Daman, the newspaper reports, focusing instead on stemming Taliban activity in the approaches to Kandahar City.

The new area of responsibility will be only one-tenth of the area the Canadian Forces were attempting to control earlier. But the increase in counter-insurgency operations envisaged under the new plan for the war may well mean that Canadian troops will eventually be involved in more intense fighting than they have been in recent months.

The idea behind the security ring is to “barricade the increasingly violent city against insurgent activity.” Once the ring is in place, expected in May 2010, security within the city is supposed to become the responsibility of the Afghan army and police forces, operating with support from U.S. military police mentors.

Canada had previously been responsible for security throughout the city and its outlying districts.

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