Canada Remains Committed in Afghanistan

The future role of Canada’s Air Force in Afghanistan is still under negotiation as Canadian Forces prepare to transition this summer from a combat role to a focus on training Afghan forces. As the plan takes shape, the Canadians will ensure that there is no gap in air support to coalition ground forces, says Col. Christian Drouin, former commander of CAF’s tactical aviation in Afghanistan. Canadian Forces “cannot allow for an operational gap, and trust me, it’s not going to happen,” he told the Daily Report during an interview in Washington, D.C. The “transition has to be seamless,” he continued, as the Canadians pass air support in their area of responsibility in southern Afghanistan to the US Army. Beyond this summer, CAF may continue operating Chinook helicopters or C-130 transports in a support role and possibly contribute additional mentors to NATO’s air training mission, he said. The picture should be clear by the end of February. “Hopefully something else will come up so that we can carry on,” said Drouin. He stressed that “Canadians support NATO and the NATO mission in Afghanistan.” (For more from Drouin’s interview, see Canada Joins Afghans, Operating the Mi-17)