Canadian Air Wing in Afghanistan

As US force levels increase in Afghanistan, so, too, is coalition partner Canada increasing its presence. On Dec. 6, Canadian Forces took a huge step forward in capability by standing up their first air wing in the Near East nation. Canadian TV reported at its Web site Dec. 7 that Joint Task Force (Afghanistan) Air Wing at Kandahar includes about 450 troops, six CH-47D Chinook, eight CH-146 Griffon, and six Mi-8 helicopters, plus various unmanned aerial vehicles. These new assets are expected to significantly reduce the Canadian Forces’ reliance on vulnerable ground transportation to move its troops. Most Canadian casualties in Afghanistan have come from roadside bombs. “There’s no reason why, from this point forward, why we can’t insert Canadian infantry using the Chinooks,” said Brig. Gen. Denis Thompson, commander of the Kandahar-based task force. The helicopters and UAVs, which will also be available to support NATO partners, join Canadian Forces C-130 transports that were already operating in Afghanistan.