By: Reagan Charles Cook for Frontline Defence Magazine
November 16th 2011
Over the last decade the Canadian Forces and its allies have worked to liberate Afghanistan and destroy the country’s insurgent network. Major General (MGen) Michael D. Day was first deployed in Afghanistan in March of 2002. Since then he has been back and forth on more than 30 occasions. MGen Day was at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. this November to discuss NATO’s mission to develop a self-sufficient Afghan defense force.
Canada ended its combat role in Afghanistan on July 9th 2011, but the mission remains far from over.
“I want to remind people, we didn’t just leave Afghanistan,” said MGen Day “We got ahead of the curve, and now are helping to solidify the local Security Forces.”
“If you’re just going to move in and move out, you’re liable to leave the national security infrastructure in an even more fragile state than when you arrived,” warned MGen Day.
The NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan (NTM-A) is two years into the five year mandate; it is the largest national rebuilding project in terms of size and expenditure since WWII. As the highest ranking Canadian in the Theatre, MGen Day has been tasked by NATO to modernize the Afghan National Army (ANA) and lay the institutional foundation for a stable and long-lasting defense network.
The mission is based on a three-pillared security structure: recruiting, training and equipping.
“We are still rebuilding this army,” said MGen Day. “And it is largely from the ground up.” There are 4,500 to 6,000 young men recruited every month. By 2012 the total force will reach 352,000.