The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) comprise the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP). Early in the Canadian and international mission, it was recognized that a well-trained and well-equipped ANSF would be essential to the development of a sustainable environment of security in Afghanistan. In implementing measures to support this priority, Canada developed two central objectives for the 2008–2011 period.
Through Task Force Kandahar, the Canadian Forces conducted combat operations against insurgents and also mentored, partnered with, and trained the ANSF, often working in partnership with Canadian civilian police, which was crucial to developing ANSF capabilities in providing security for the people of Kandahar.
The first Canadian objective was for the ANA in Kandahar to demonstrate an increased capacity to conduct operations and sustain a more secure environment in key districts of Kandahar, with support from ISAF allies.
The second Canadian objective was for the ANP to demonstrate an increased capacity to promote law and order in key districts of Kandahar, supported by justice-sector and corrections capabilities.
Increasing, nationally, from an active force of 50,000 soldiers in 2008 to one that was more than 170,000 strong by September 2011, the Afghan National Army (ANA) has begun its transformation into a more modern fighting force, armed with the knowledge and equipment necessary for success.
Some 30,000 Canadian Forces and National Defence personnel have contributed to this effort through the deployment of civil-military co-operation teams and Stabilization Companies. Canada provided tactical units that carried out “shape, clear, hold, build” operations in our area of responsibility—a people-centric approach that aims to isolate and remove insurgents from the local population while enabling governance and reconstruction. The tactical units included a full infantry battalion, a tank squadron, an armoured reconnaissance squadron, a battery of field artillery and a field engineer squadron, as well as Operational and Mentor Liaison Teams (OMLTs) and Police Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams (POMLTs).
While Task Force Kandahar’s OMLTs shouldered the responsibility of working closely with elements of the ANA’s first brigade, 205 Corps in Kandahar (1/205 Corps), members of the Canadian Forces lived and worked alongside their Afghan counterparts in almost every operational endeavour. They provided advice to the Brigade’s leadership, helped train soldiers and ensured that the capabilities of battalions (kandaks) within 1/205 Corps improved.
As a result of their efforts, several benchmarks and targets were achieved by Canada with respect to the ability of the ANA to carry out autonomous operations:
In helping the Afghan people in their struggle against the insurgency, local engagement became a pivotal element of the Canadian Forces work in Afghanistan. A number of operations, including KALAY and HAMKARI (Pashto for “village” and “cooperation” respectively) focused on removing insurgents from villages, securing those villages and then working with civilian experts and Afghan officials at the provincial and district level to bring local governance and reconstruction initiatives to their residents.
Operation HAMKARI, for example, was a series of initiatives and activities which sought to extend the Government of Afghanistan’s influence into new areas of Kandahar province while enhancing its presence in relatively stable areas. The operation included coalition forces as well as 10,500 ANA soldiers, together with rule of law, governance and development experts from the Canadian-led Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team. HAMKARI, which began in 2010, increased Kandaharis’ access to the Afghan government and strengthened the Government’s capacity to govern and improve access to basic services at the local level.
Because of Canadian Forces operations in Kandahar, and partnered operations such as HAMKARI, there have been measurable improvements in the daily lives of Afghans in Kandahar, in particular the greater freedom of movement for residents and government officials.
The improved capabilities and performance of the ANA in Kandahar province, as well as their increased numbers, have been dramatic. This is a direct result of the Canadian Forces focus on local security, which created the space and perceptions of safety needed for individual communities to advance.
A lesser known facet of Canada’s achievements in Kandahar between 2008 and 2011 was the work completed by the Canadian Forces in reconstruction, through the Commander’s Contingency Fund (CCF). The CCF provided Commander, Joint Task Force Afghanistan, with resources to support projects aimed at increasing stability. Local priorities were identified in consultation with village residents and whole-of-government partners, helping to foster a relationship of trust between the Afghan people and their government representatives, and to reinforce security within specific areas.
These reconstruction efforts included a range of initiatives, such as the building of roads and wells, assisting with the improvement of mosques and local markets, as well as the provision of solar-powered lighting. Not only did these efforts contribute to a strengthened security environment—road improvements reduced opportunities to plant improvised explosive devices, for example—but they also enabled local Afghans to begin rebuilding their economy and their future.
Advancing the capabilities of Afghanistan’s own security forces and progressively transferring responsibility for security to Afghanistan’s leadership are critical to the development of a more professional ANSF so that Afghans can defend their country and safeguard their communities going forward.
Building on our experience in developing the ANSF, and to impart the skills and knowledge Canadian soldiers have acquired from combat and their own training, Canada has deployed up to 950 Canadian Forces trainers and support personnel to Afghanistan to take part in Operation ATTENTION, the Canadian component of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A). The Canadian training effort is concentrated in Kabul with two satellite sites in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif. It focuses on training in areas such as leadership, health care, literacy improvement and the core professional skills of soldiers.
Operation ATTENTION builds on our legacy in Kandahar, contributes to the efforts of our allies, and demonstrates that Canada remains a strategic partner in Afghanistan. The objective of this mission is to set the conditions for Afghanistan to assume full responsibility for its own security in 2014.
A professional Afghan National Police (ANP) is key to fostering stability and enhancing the rule of law in Afghanistan, as a credible police force allows Afghans to feel safer and more secure in their communities.
Canada deploys police officers to international peace missions around the world to help rebuild and strengthen police services in failed or fragile states. The training and mentoring of the ANP, as well as the construction of police infrastructure and the provision of equipment, were central elements of Canada’s policing, security and rule-of-law efforts in Afghanistan.
The scope of Canada’s police contributions has evolved over time, from front-line basic officer training to the current focus on middle- and senior-level training and mentoring. Over 200 Canadian police officers have served in Afghanistan; about half of the Canadian police contingent were posted to the Canadian-led Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team, while others worked at the UN, NATO and European Union Police (EUPOL) missions.
Canada surpassed all benchmarks and targets that were established for Kandahar’s policing sector, with 19 infrastructure projects and 28 infrastructure upgrades being completed.
A total of 4,333 ANP in key districts have been trained since 2008, more than originally planned. As reported in the previous quarterly report, 92 percent received Focused District Development (FDD) training, against a Canada target of 80 percent. In August 2008, only 25 percent of the ANP in key districts had completed FDD training.
In addition, 80 percent of ANP forces in key districts developed the capability of planning, executing and sustaining near-autonomous operations, again achieving the Canadian target. In August 2008 none of the ANP forces in key districts were operating at this level.
The development of the Kandahar Model Police Plan, a joint initiative between the Canadian civilian police contingent based in Kandahar and the Afghan Ministry of Interior, was key in providing the framework for the completion of these projects and upgrades. The plan focused on teaming ANP officers with Canadian police mentors, and on making the ANP more responsive to the people of Kandahar and more accountable to government.
The expansion of the Canadian-led civilian Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team Training Centre also served as an important hub for training the ANP, corrections officers from Sarpoza Prison, and justice officials, such as judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers. Responsibility for the training centre was transferred from the Government of Canada to the Afghan Ministry of Interior and the NTM-A on March 29, 2011, an important step in the transfer of responsibilities back to the Afghan government.
Canadian civilian police also developed the curriculum for a train-the-trainer course in Kabul, an initiative designed to ensure that ANP progress would be sustained through the training efforts of qualified Afghans.
The Canadian Forces also made a major contribution to the training and development of the ANP in the 2008–2011 period.
A Canadian major-general was responsible for all ANP training and development on behalf of the NTM-A; the Canadian Forces and Canadian police provided mentoring to the ANP regional headquarters responsible for all policing matters in the six southern provinces.
Canadian Forces personnel were assigned to Police Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams and deployed to Afghanistan to train ANP officers at the Kandahar regional training centre run by the NTM-A. These liaison teams were also actively engaged in police training in the districts of Panjwayi and Dand, mentoring district chiefs of police and working alongside Canadian civilian police to assist with the professional development of the ANP.
Canadian support also facilitated advancements in policing at the policy level. For example, Canada provided funding to deploy a Technical Adviser to the Deputy Minister of Strategy and Policy within the Afghan Ministry of Interior. The Technical Adviser has been successful in having the importance of institutional reform of the Ministry of Interior recognized by both the Afghan government and the international community.
Similarly, Canada supported the Ministry of Interior’s policy unit in improving its strategic planning system, which will enable a periodic review of the National Police Plan. Canadian programming also funded three workshops to train the next cadre of Afghan leaders at the Ministry in policing and law enforcement policy development.
Canada’s placement of a gender adviser in the Ministry of Interior helped strengthen the recruitment of Afghan women into the police force and increased the capacity of the ANP to respond to women’s needs and security, including response to domestic violence. Although the project faced many challenges due to the traditional gender-biased organizational culture of the ANP, there were some noted successes. In particular, the presence of women in the ANP has increased to 436 women officers in 2011. The institutional capacity of the ANP to respond to issues of gender equality was also strengthened with the establishment of 13 Family Response Units, responsible for responding to domestic violence complaints, and the formation of women’s patrols for Kabul Women’s Park.
Finally, among the last ANP infrastructure projects to be completed in Kandahar with Canadian support was the modern Police Substation in Kandahar City, the largest ANP infrastructure project to be undertaken by Canada. Located in the dangerous and volatile District 9 of Kandahar City, the Police Substation was built near Kandahar University, providing additional security for the university and nearby residential areas.
However, for all the progress that has been made with respect to building a new, multi-purpose police force, ongoing challenges remain and will require years of development and international support. Areas of particular concern include corruption, attrition, drug abuse and illiteracy.
Building on our experience in the development of the ANP, Canada is deploying up to 45 Canadian civilian police to Afghanistan to continue mentoring and training with the Afghan Ministry of Interior and ANP through the NTM-A and EUPOL as well as other international partners through to 2014.
The promotion of law and order demands a functioning court system with trained judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers, and a prison system where rights and the rule of law are respected.
Recognizing the importance of a functioning justice system, Canada undertook a number of justice-related initiatives designed to train justice officials in Kandahar and to deliver infrastructure improvements. All of Canada’s targets in this area were surpassed.
Five training programs were delivered to Kandahar justice officials in the 2008–2011 period. These included training in the management of forensic medical evidence, a three-month course on information technologies, a six-week course on leadership and management, and courses on fair trial standards as well as on civil and commercial law.
Six justice-related infrastructure projects were completed in Kandahar, including the refurbishment of the Arghandab District Courthouse and the construction of accommodations for the Attorney General’s Office. Both these and other infrastructure projects provided safe living and working conditions for Kandahar justice officials.
In addition, Canada assisted with equipping 12 justice facilities in Kandahar. These initiatives included the provision of equipment to a number of key justice offices in Kandahar City and in surrounding districts, including the Special Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office. Once again, Canadian support enabled justice officials to carry out their work on a permanent basis in the districts, serving to extend the Government of Afghanistan’s presence and increase its capacity to provide essential legal services to Afghans.
Beyond these achievements, Canada also met its target of improving the Afghan Ministry of Justice’s capacity to draft, revise and promulgate laws passed by the Afghan government. Canada funded 20 workshops in Kandahar City to promote awareness of legal rights with the primary aim of reaching female audiences. These included; a corrections conference in Kabul that focused on strengthening Afghan ownership of corrections reform; and specialized training on juvenile justice, human trafficking and anti-corruption for Kandahar lawyers, judges and prosecutors. Canada also assisted legal aid organizations, including legal aid groups for women.
At the national level, a Canadian project at the Ministry of Justice enabled the launch of a new online legal database for Afghanistan, to facilitate legal research and improve legal awareness through easier access to legislation, court decisions and other documents. Training for researchers at the Ministry’s legislative drafting unit focused on building skill sets in database management and research, thus fostering the longer-term sustainability of the database.
Despite these achievements, however, the justice sector remains among the most complex and challenging areas of the international community’s efforts in Afghanistan. Much more work is required in order to improve the justice sector and ensure that it becomes a more capable component of a strengthened law and order environment in Afghanistan. Canada will continue its work to further protect and promote human rights, and to rebuild the justice sector by supporting targeted initiatives and mentoring within the Ministry of Justice, with a particular focus on women’s needs.
Improving the institutional capacity and performance of the Afghan corrections system was key to Canada’s 2008–2011 efforts in Afghanistan. To this end, Canada provided considerable support, through the provision of 15 experts from Correctional Services Canada (CSC), to the whole-of-government engagement in Kandahar. The focus of corrections-related initiatives was to improve prison management, operating standards, conditions of detention, inmate care and vocational opportunities.
All Canadian infrastructure, equipment and training efforts with respect to corrections were completed and all targets were met.
In particular, a total of 36 infrastructure projects and 18 equipment purchases were completed at Sarpoza Prison, surpassing the 2011 targets of 19 projects and 12 purchases. Infrastructure projects included the refurbishment of Sarpoza’s medical clinic and pre-trial unit, construction of a new facility for vocational training, and upgrades to electrical and plumbing systems.
Among other achievements, the entire roster of corrections officers and managers at Sarpoza Prison completed basic and advanced training programs provided by CSC. As a result of a Train-the-Trainer program delivered by CSC, Afghan trainers mentored by Canadians now provide the necessary training for new recruits. CSC also mentored Sarpoza staff on crisis management and the Sarpoza Prison warden on management skills, and trained an Emergency Response Team composed of Sarpoza staff. All of this training and mentoring contributed to a better equipped and a better run prison compared to that of 2008.
Responding to concerns over the retention of correctional staff, Canada’s successful “retention pay pilot project” significantly helped to improve prison staffing levels; it was succeeded by a donor-funded Afghan initiative that raised prison staff salaries to parity with ANP salaries.
However, despite considerable efforts by Canada, the international community and the Afghan Central Prisons Directorate and other Afghan leaders, challenges persist in creating a more modern correctional system in Afghanistan. This reality was underscored by the mass escape of more than 480 inmates from Sarpoza Prison earlier in 2011.
The contributions of the men and women of the Canadian security and intelligence community, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Communications Security Establishment Canada and Defence Intelligence, should also be acknowledged. This community played an integral role in contributing to the Canadian mission, providing intelligence that saved Canadian and Afghan lives, and protected Canadian interests in Kandahar and across Afghanistan.