Kandahar Tour: The Turning Point in Canada's Afghan Mission

By Lee Windsor, David Charters & Brent Wilson.Kandahar Tour, published in 2008

In the summer of 2006 the Gregg Centre embarked on a major research project on Canada's military, aid and development mission in Afghanistan. The findings of this research were published in September 2008 as Kandahar Tour: The Turning Point in Canada's Afghan Mission.

Afghanistan remains one of Canada's most controversial foreign policy initiatives since the Second World War. Media reports focus on combat deaths and the apparent futility of bringing peace to a strife-torn and corruption ridden land bordered by the problem of Pakistan. Our findings suggest that this focus creates a skewed picture of life - and the UN mission in which Canada is playing a major role - in Kandahar.

Kandahar Tour brings balance to the public view by telling a full story of one six-month rotation of Canadian soldiers, Mounties, diplomats, aid officials, and UN workers who struggled to bring law, order and aid to Afghanistan in the first half of 2007. It turned out that the rotation selected for our study, based on a contingent from CFB Gagetown, happened to occur during a time of dramatic change in Kandahar. 2007 was the year the drought came to an end, investment and aid began flowing into the region in significant quantity and relations between the Government of Afghanistan and disaffected southern farmers took a sharp turn for the better. The rebalancing of the mission toward diplomatic and development activity demanded by critics began in earnest during this tour. Immense challenges and problems remain, but finally in that spring and summer glimmers of light began to appear. Ours is the story of that turning point.

The book includes a fold-out map of southern Afghanistan. Those looking for more terrain, infrastructure and demographic detail should visit The Afghanistan Information Management Services website. In keeping with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) focus on building good government and a healthy economy, the AIMS mandate is to foster information management and services to Afghan government departments and companies.

The AIMS electronic map products include: