Kandahar Tour takes the reader into Afghanistan, into the battlegroup responsible for driving the Taliban farther into outlying areas, to establish a broad security and development zone, allowing Task Force 1-07, the UN and NATO to increase their restoration initiatives. The book details the combined work of soldiers-Canadian and their dozen allies--and their commanders, aid workers, the RCMP, and NGOs-all of the pieces that are a part of the Afghan mission, often overlooked by journalists and media. Kandahar Tour is a thorough accounting of life and mission in Afghanistan.
Task Force 1-07, the third rotation, deployed to Afghanistan from February to August 2007. Its core was the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment from CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick, backed by reservists from famous militia units from all over Atlantic Canada. The University of New Brunswick's Gregg Centre's close affiliation to this Army of the Atlantic gives the authors excellent access to participants. Their connections and security clearance status with Land Forces Command provided the authors with access to official war diaries and after-action reports, enabling them to write a rich and accurate account of the fight against bomb-making cells and drug gangs that occurred simultaneously with the dramatic but unsung effort to establish a stable government. The latter involves an often frustrating struggle with corruption as well as a desperate battle against crippling drought, poverty and a destructive, Taliban-driven opium economy.
The third rotation to Kandahar marked an historic turning point. Only one year earlier, Canadian soldiers were confined to Kandahar City and its outlying districts and were locked in an unexpected conventional battle against 1500 Taliban fighters and local recruits. Twelve months later, hard-core Taliban and foreign fighters were scattered in small groups to remote parts of the province while local Kandaharis returned to their farms on the promise that Canada and NATO would provide them security. During "Roto 3," the "Royals" pushed the security and development zone far and wide out into rural Kandahar allowing UN and NATO Afghan restoration operations to function as intended and with growing momentum. One of the key rebuilding projects, a joint CIDA-Canadian forces effort, is that of the Dala Dam in northern Afghanistan, which controls the flow of the Arbadan River through Panjuwaii and provides precious irrigation. This dam was destroyed by the Soviets and its reconstruction is essential.
Such recent progress goes largely unreported in Canada. The authors are much impressed with how life has returned to normal in Kandahar City. This book is an honest assessment of the conditions today in Afghanistan-and of the future.