The mission is, despite some reports, going well. A combination of military/political and developmental activities on a greatly reduced Canadian area are starting to show demonstrable improvements. The Afghans who live in these regions are looking for a cessation of violence, and while the various factions involved in the conflict are still fighting, the sense one gets from various Afghan officials and elders is that the lower and middle level insurgents of the organized groups are weary. There is a sense of hope with regards to the reconciliation talks that are currently ongoing.
Much of the work that I do in Kandahar is research based, using primary and secondary written and internet sources, as well as interviews. I also spend a great deal of time in the area of operations attempting to understand the dynamic interplay of various factors at work in the environment. In the course of these travels I get to interact with a wide variety of people – some of whom are in the attached photos. I use the results of this research to provide advice on various facets of civil-military activities, either via written papers or oral briefs. These perspectives prompt discussions that are then sometimes incorporated into various plans and directives. It is thoroughly fascinating to participate in this evolving communal discourse.
I hope all is well in Waterloo and will continue to try keep everyone updated periodically as to our doings in Southern Afghanistan.
Click on the photo for a gallery of images sent by Howard Coombs from Afghanistan
Howard Coombs is an Assistant Professor of the Royal Military College of Canada currently with the Directorate of Learning Innovation at the Canadian Defence Academy and a research associate of the LCMSDS