Canada in Afghanistan
A story of military, diplomatic, political and media failure 2003-2023
by Owen Schalk
How and why Canada went to war in Afghanistan, what Canadians were doing on the ground, and why the effort failed to achieve any of its aims – military, humanitarian, or diplomatic
Canadian leaders then and now claim great success for Canada’s role in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2014 and beyond. Though 151 Canadians were killed in combat, the Canadian military played a key role in fighting the Taliban. Canada built schools, restored a major dam, and advised a government on elections and economic development. Yet within hours of the final withdrawal by US troops in 2021, the government collapsed. The Taliban returned to power.
Why did Canada send our military to fight the Taliban and occupy Afghanistan? Why was the mission a failure? And why have Canadian governments failed to analyze the reasons for this failure?
In this book, independent scholar Owen Schalk offers a history of Canada’s role in Afghanistan. He discusses why Canada’s efforts, and those of the US and others, failed. And he shows how the Canadian media did not report accurately on the war and misinformed the public during the war and afterwards.
Owen Schalk provides an incisive, illuminating account of Canadian involvement in a war that cost lives and many billions.It’s a story that Canadian officials would prefer not be told.