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December 31, 2003

Keeping an Eye on the "C" in ABCA.

ABCA. America, Britain, Canada, Australia. A little-known formal alliance that has been in existence since WWII. While most war-like events since WWII have been AB, AA, ABA, most people don't realize that Afghanistan has been ABCA. And while there a Canadian sniper scored the longest range kill. Their role is about to expand.

KABUL - The role of international troops in Afghanistan is about to change from patrolling streets to hunting down insurgents, Canada's top soldier in the region says.

In a pre-Christmas address to the troops Tuesday, Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie told Canadian Forces soldiers at Camp Julien that international peacekeepers would be fanning out from Kabul in the future to smaller, less secure towns across the war-torn country.

"The bottom line is the security situation in the south is not good. But in the rest of the country, it's certainly a hell of a lot better than it was."

Good on ya, fellas. But, I'm still gonna keep an eye on the shipping, what with you guys picking up all this experience, though.

In a related note, Her Majesty's Forces in the Great White North have a better sense of humor (and refreshingly less self-importance -in the miiltary, anyway) than we do. The *ahem* Gunner in charge of Canadian forces in Afghanistan has this little snippet in his official biography...

Promoted to Brigadier-General in 1999, in 2000 he became the Canadian Forces J6, responsible for communications, signals intelligence and computer network operations. In 2002, he was appointed commander of Land Forces Central Area, responsible for one Regular and three Reserve brigade groups, a support formation and several bases and training schools. Promoted to his current rank in May 2003, Maj.-Gen. Leslie is now the Canadian Commander, Task Force Kabul and Deputy Commander, International Security Assistance Force. Maj.-Gen.Leslie also runs moderately, skis well and wind-surfs badly.

Must be an artillery thing. I used to run moderately, ski well, and I also wind-surf badly. So badly I had to be rescued by a 12 year old German on Lake Chiemsee!

And, in what will be a surprising revelation to you earthcrawler types, MG Leslie appreciates his grunts. As related by my mole in the Canadian Army, CAPT H, :

Several years ago, as Commander 1 CMBG, he ran a live-fire ex at CFB Suffield. While briefing the press and other observers, he ran through a series of slides showing the stages of a deliberate attack. He finished with a slide on the infantry assault, introducing it with: "And then we send in the Death Techs."

Yes, despite the best efforts of the Canadian Government notwithstanding (see Regiment, Airborne, disbanding of) our friends up north do still have a few "Death Techs" and aren't afraid to admit that what armies do is Kill People, Break Things, and Control What's Left.

BTW - any current or former warriors in any nation are encouraged to provide the (unclas, please!) kind of info that CAPT H so thoughtfully provides for Canada. I'll be happy to publish anything (I do exercise some editorial judgement) you would like to share, with or without attribution as you request. I know how it can be when you are a serving soldier... that brings to mind a tale for a different post.