We are currently in the process of updating this segment of our web site to document Canada's soldiers and airmen in the Afghanistan conflict and to honour those who have died there.

While our in-depth material on Canada's armed forces in Afghanistan is being prepared we offer in the interim this photo narrative selected from the very rich archive available here .

Kandahar

2002

In mid-November 2001 the United States asked its coalition partners, which included Canada, to provide ground troops to provide a stabilization force to be deployed in areas secured by the Northern Alliance of Afghans seeking to free Afghanistan from Taliban control. The mission goal was to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian relief and supplies to the people of Afghanistan. Canada's response was to place 1,000 members the Immediate Reaction Force (Land) (IRF(L)) on 48 hours notice to deploy. The IRF(L) was based on 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (3PPCLI), a light infantry battalion. By January the situation had changed significantly and the tasking was reduced to 750 soldiers to deploy to Kandahar as part of a task force based on the US Army 187th Brigade Combat Team. This was the first of a continuum of Canadian Army involvement in Afghanistan.

Photo by Capt Dale MacEachern, DGPA/J5PA Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

Soldiers of 3PPCLI arrive in Kandahar, 3 February 2001.

By mid-March they engaged in operations in the Tora Bora region to search Al Quaeda material, documents and bodies and to destroy their caves and prevent return to the region. Here soldiers disembark from a US Army CH-47D Chinook helicopter on 7 May in a subsequent operation searching for Al Quaeda.

Cpl Lou Penney, 3 PPCLI Battle Group, Department of National Defence.

 

 
Cpl Lou Penney, 3 PPCLI Battle Group, Department of National Defence.

 

 
Sgt Gerry Pilote, DGPA/J5PA Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

3PPCLI battle group included a reconnaissance squadron of the Lord Strathcona's Horse (LdSH). Soldiers of the squadron drive out of the Canadian camp at Kandahar International Airport in Coyote armoured reconnaissance vehicles on 9 Feb 2002.

12 Field Sqadron of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment was attached to 3PPCLI Battle Group. Here they develop Kandahar airfield defences while at right they prepare to fire 84mm munitions at fixed targets during a training exercise at Tarnack Farms just outside the Kandahar Airport. It was at this same location where four members of 3PPCLI were killed when a US Air Force plane mistook the tracer from the same 84mm weapons to be hostile anti-aircraft fire.




MCpl Danielle Bernier, DGPA/J5PA Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

Cpl Lou Penney, 3 PPCLI Battle Group Photographer, Department of National Defence.

On 19 April 3PPCLI assemble as the four caskets are loaded onto an awaiting USAF C-17 aircraft.

Cpl Lou Penney, 3 PPCLI Battle Group, Department of National Defence.

Cpl Lou Penney, 3 PPCLI BG Photographer, Department of National Defence.

 

 
Cpl Lou Penney, 3 PPCLI Battle Group, Department of National Defence.

 

 


In early July 3PPCLI Battle Group and the Afghan National Army deployed into Zobol Province (100km NE of Kandahar) and conducted a sweep of the Shin Key Valley.

Shortly after return to Kandahar from this operation the Battle Group ceased operations and returned to Edmonton and other destinations at the end of July after a brief “decompression” stopover in Guam.







Kabul

2003

Canada’s soldiers were not long absent from Afghanistan. On 12 February 2003 Minister of National Defence John McCallum announced that Canada had agreed to provide a battalion group and brigade headquarters for a UN mandated mission in Kabul starting in late summer.

Sgt Frank Hudec, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

 

Here one of the first convoys of vehicles departs Kabul airport on 30 June after offloading from a hired Antonov transport aircraft.

The battalion group was based on 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment from CFB Petawawa, ON and started arriving in Kabul on 19 July. Also deployed to Kabul Multi-National Brigade were gunners from 2 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery 2RCHA) seen on firing range near Kabul with their 105mm Howitzers.






CF Photo by Corporal Doug Farmer, Department of National Defence.

 

 

 

 

Also sent to Kabul was the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ( UAV ) Troop of 2RCHA here launching a Sperwer UAV on 6 November. The Sperwer was the first UAV acquired for the Canadian Forces.

Sergeant Frank Hudec, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

2004

On 27 January 2004 Cpl Jamie Brendan Murphy is killed by a suicide bomber while driving an Iltis utility vehicle [jeep] on a routine patrol. Obviously the Iltis was not suitable for conditions in Afghanistan and the government gave quick approval to its replacement, the Mercedes Geländewagen (G-Wagon) which is here in Kabul in March 2004. A mine protection kit was purchased for some vehicles and also a machine gun turret.

 

 

 
Sergeant Daren Kraus, Image Tech, TFK Afghanistan, Roto 9, Department of National Defence.

 

 

Quick on the heals behind the G Wagon procurement was this South African RG-31 Nyala “mine protected vehicle”. These are two vehicles operated by the Loyal Edmonton Regiment platoon deployed to Afghanistan in 2006.

2005

On 14 February a Coyotte from the Kabul Reconnaissance Squadron moves along a patrol route during deployed operations in Afghanistan.

In April a LAV-III provides cover for a dismounted foot patrol in Kabul while (below) sappers prepare demolitions to destroy 122mm rockets.

MCpl Chris DuPree, Task Force Kabul (TFK) Roto 3, Recce Sqn Radio Rebroadcast Section Commander, Department of National Defence.

 

 
Sgt Frank Hudec, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

 

Kandahar

On 17 May 2005 the Government of Canada announced that Canada's soldiers would shift their efforts from Kabul to Kandahar with up to 1250 troops. A Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) was part of the package and would eventually involve CIDA, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), and the RCMP.

Photo by: Corporal Dan Shouinard Task Force Kabul Roto 3, Department of National Defence.

 

 

On 28 July a CC-130 Hercules approaches Kandahar airfield with the very first load of the Provincial Reconstruction members into Kandahar International Airport

As operations have just about ceased in Kabul in November 2005 a convoy prepares to reposition equipment from Kabul to Kandahar.

Master Corporal Ken Fenner Task Force Afghanistan Roto 0 Photographer, Department of National Defence.

 

 
Sgt Jerry Kean/DND, Department of National Defence.

 

 

On 20 December members of the Provincial Reconstruction Team prepare charges to destroy various types of ordnance that were turned into the PRT by local residents for disposal.

On 27 December young Afghan girls look on as Captain Colleen Forestier, a member of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Medical Section, and Corporal Helene April, a Weapons Tech with the PRT, displays crafts that participants from various girls' schools have brought in to be judged for prizes.

Sgt Jerry Kean/DND, Department of National Defence.

 

2006

On 19 March we see a convoy of American and Canadian soldiers are stopping at the local hospital in the village of Qalat. The convoy includes two G-wagons one Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) from Canada and one American hummer.

Photo by Sergeant Gerben van ES Task Force Afghanistan Roto 1 Defence Force Photographer, Department of National Defence.

 

 

 

 

On 17 May Captain Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard, an artillery Forward Observation Officer, was killed by a bullet in the head while directing fire from her LAVIII armoured vehicle. She was thus the first woman combat soldier to die in action. In one of her letters home to her father, who teaches in the field of post-conflict educational development at the University of Calgary, she wrote, “I do what I do so you can do what you do.”

2006 was to see much more intense action against the Taliban insurgents trying reimpose their harsh and unpopular regime on the Afghan people. After this year's combat they less frequently risked direct combat with Canadians, resorting instead to suicide bombers and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Photo by Sergeant Carole Morissette Task Force Afghanistan Roto Imagery Technician, Department of National Defence.

 

 

In previous wars Canadians used the comforts of the Salvation Army. In Afghanistan in the 21st century there is a full range of amenities including this precious cargo arrive aboard a US C-17 aircraft -- the Tim Horton's “double-double” kit.

Prior to Afghanistan, Canada's army had just about abandoned tanks but as the threat to our soldiers became increasingly one of IEDs it was decided that tanks with their heavier armour would be a good addition to our Afghanistan contingent. On 3 October one of the first Leopard I tanks with its 105mm gun arrives aboard a US C-17 transport aircraft. It a contract was soon made to purchase the newer Leopard II tanks armed with a 120mm gun and increased armour and air-conditioned interior, not a luxury when temperatures routinely reach 50C and above!

Also deployed was this Badger armoured engineer vehicle, built on the Leopard chassis, in November developing the site of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) Ma'Sum Ghar. Canada's soldiers were deployed in such bases throughout the Kandahar area.

Sgt Lou Penney TFA OP ATHENA Imagery Technician, Department of National Defence.

 

 
Master Corporal Yves Gemus Task Forces Afghanistan OP ATHENA Imagery Technician, Department of National Defence.

 

 
2007
Cpl Dan Pop JTFA Image Tech, Department of National Defence.

 

 

On 29 March 2007, Engineers from 2 RCR Battle Group use another weapon against IEDs, an explosives-sniffing dog and handler searching in a village, and on the surrounding roads close to Forward Operating Base Gundi Ghar in western Kandahar Province.

Canada's government gave full support to our soldiers providing improved equipment to meet changing circumstances. On 27 June, gunners of D Battery, 2RCHA, here load charge bags full of propellant into the breech of their M777 155 mm howitzer at the Canadian FOB at Sperwan Ghar, Afghanistan. Firing laser guided munitions these guns deliver accurate fire of explosive, smoke, or illuminating projectiles to a distance of several kilometres.

On 23 June 2007, Ma'Sum Ghar, Afghanistan, Canadian Forces Medical Technician Sergeant Mike Escott of the Operational Mentoring Liaison Team (OMLT) checks the pulse of an Afghan National Army soldier in a bunker at the Canadian Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Ma'sum Ghar, Afghanistan. Watching is Afghan National Army doctor Captain Rahollah.


MCpl Kevin Paul, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

 
MCpl Kevin Paul, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

 

16 August, the first Leopard 2A6 tank arrives at Kandahar Airport in Afghanistan aboard an Antonov 124-100 aircraft. The tank was leased from Germany following an announcement made by the Minister of National Defence April 2007 in which he committed to renewing the armoured tank capabilities of the Canadian Forces.

The training and mentoring of the Afghan army has been a major focus since the first days in Kabul in 2003. Here on 27 June a group of Canadian and Afghan soldiers depart an Afghan National Army post for a patrol near the FOB at Ma'sum Ghar, Afghanistan.

CF Photo by Mcpl Bruno Turcotte, Department of National Defence.

 

 
MCpl Kevin Paul, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

 

Seen in Trenton on 27 September is the latest weapon in the arsenal to deal with mines and IEDs, this Buffalo Mines Detection Vehicle (BMDV). The hull of the Buffalo is mine-resistant, its armour (and ballistic glass) protected against IEDs and 7.62x51 mm rifle fire. Like the Nyala it is of South African design.

Erroll Morel, Department of National Defence.

 

 

On 16 November 2007, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, a convoy of Canadian vehicles and troops make their final preparations prior to departing for the next destination point during an operation in the Zhari District, about 40 Km west of Kandahar City, Afghanistan.

17 November 2007, Canadian soldiers from B Company, 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, return fire after receiving intermittent contact with Taliban fighters November 17th 2007, about 40 km west of Kandahar City, Afghanistan. After securing the objective location, the next phase was to construct a protective compound, which will be used as a checkpoint by the Afghan National Army (ANA) to reduce the freedom of movement of Taliban fighters.

MCpl Robert Bottrill, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

 
MCpl Robert Bottrill, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

 
2008
Cpl Simon Duchesne, photographer, HQ Afg, Roto 4, Department of National Defence.

 

 

20 January 2008, Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, Major Lee-Anne Quinn examining a sick Afghan girl at a free medical clinic run by Afghan, Canadian and US medical and dental personnel in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan. Squadron A, 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (12 RBC), also distributed shoes to nearly 1,000 young Afghans.

On 30 April, Master Corporal Anouk Beauvais of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (KPRT) gives handshakes to Afghan girls during a foot patrol in Panjwayi district, Afghanistan. The goal of the patrol was to determine the needs and living condition of the local population.

Cpl Simon Duchesne, photographer, HQ Afg, Roto 4, Department of National Defence.

 

 
MCpl Karl McKay, photographer, JTF-AF Roto 5, Department of National Defence.

 

 

21 Aug 2008, Corporal Montgomery of 12 Field Squadron, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment in Edmonton, Alberta, signals to a fellow soldier while keeping an all-around defense position during OP TIMIS PREEM, a deliberate operation aimed at disrupting insurgent command and control centres in key areas of the Zharey/Panjwayi Districts. It was successful in finding the insurgents, digging them out of hiding, and destroying their materiel caches, thus preventing them from emplacing improvised explosive devices along Ring Route South, a key thoroughfare in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

2009
CF Photo by MCpl Robert Bottrill, Department of National Defence.

 

 

Finally! the missing link -- CH-147 Chinook helicopters are added to the resources of Canada's soldiers in Afghanistan. Here on 13 February the Master Gunner sits in the door-gunner’s position and mans the C-6 machine gun as the CH-146 Griffon helicopter departs Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, on a training mission to test fire the new Dillon Aero 7.62mm M134 Minigun. The Griffons were used as escorts for the Chinooks.

Cpl James Nightingale, Department of National Defence.

 

 

On March 7, 2009, anticipation runs high as soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group prepare to board the Chinook helicopters at Kandahar Airfield that will fly them deep into Zhari District for Operation SANGA FIST, a one-day air-mobile deliberate operation.

10 June 2009, Canadian soldiers are patrolling the streets of Kandahar, Afghanistan.

June 7, 2009, left, Sergeant César Montes, a member of 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment from Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, advances with his patrol, Patrol 51-A, in the centre of Deb-E-Bagh District.

Sergeant Paz Quillé, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

 
Corporal Jonathan Barrette, JTF-Afg, Department of National Defence.

 

 
2010
Master Corporal Craig Wiggins, Flight Engineer, JTFK Afghanistan, Roto 8, Department of National Defence.

 

 

On 9 February 2010 Canadian Forces Chinook helicopters fly in formation during a training mission for OP MOSHTARAK. Task Force Freedom, Canada's Helicopter presence in Afghanistan prepares for the largest air assault since the Second World War the Canadian component will consist of 3 Chinook helicopters, 4 Griffon helicopters and approximately 60 Canadian Forces members. Their mission will be to insert British, Estonian and Afghan troops into the village of Nad Ali. The village is considered to be an insurgent hot spot and locals have been warned to stay inside their homes.

Sergeant Daren Kraus, Image Tech, TFK Afghanistan, Roto 9, Department of National Defence.

 

 

On 31 May 2010, 1 Royal Canadian Regiment (1RCR) Bravo Company (B COY) conduct a presence patrol of Haji Baba and the surrounding area.

Sergeant Daren Kraus, Image Tech, TFK Afghanistan, Roto 9, Department of National Defence.

 

 

3 June 2010, 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment (1RCR), Bravo Company and Afghan National Army members patrol the area while a CH146 Griffon helicopter flies overhead supplying aerial support.

Sergeant Daren Kraus, Image Tech, TFK Afghanistan, Roto 9, Department of National Defence.

 

 

9 June 2010, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The CU-170 Heron UAV is a one tonne aircraft that can conduct operations in excess of 24 hours with a maximum speed of more than 1180 km/h and at altitudes of up to 10,000 metres. The CU-170 Heron can remain on-station for at least 12 hours, at least 100 kilometres away from its operating base. The Heron has the ability to collect and transmit gyro-stabilized, electro-optical and infrared full-motion imagery, and broadcast full-motion and still imagery.

Corporal Shilo Adamson, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Department of National Defence.

 

 

Panjwa'i District, 16 October 2010, a Leopard 2A6M Main Battle Tank from The Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) and part of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, provides over-watch as soldiers from Charles Company conduct an impromptu shura with local villagers during recent operations in the volatile Panjwa’i and Zhari Districts of Kandahar Province. The sheer size and firepower of the Leopard 2A6M Main Battle Tank makes it a formidable force and a huge deterrent to enemy insurgents allowing for such meetings to take place.

2011

Canada's combat mission in Kandahar will cease in the summer of 2011. Our efforts will shift to Kabul for the training of the Afghan National Army.

 

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