Deposing Taliban regime was a mistake, former Canadian commander says

OTTAWA - The West made a mistake deposing the Taliban regime in the aftermath of 9/11 and should have simply trained its guns on al Qaeda, says the Canadian commander who led NATO into southern Afghanistan a decade ago.

See Full Article

Retired major-general Dave Fraser commanded both the Canadian task force and the military alliance's expanded mission to extend the authority of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai beyond the capital of Kabul in 2006.

At the time, it was just over four-and-a-half years into the Afghan war and three years into the larger, bloodier struggle in Iraq after the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

"We thought, naively, that regime change was the solution to the problem," Fraser told The Canadian Press in an interview to mark the 10th anniversary of the Canadian combat deployment into Kandahar.

No one, back then, seemed to appreciate how profound the power vacuum was and that the West had "created for ourselves a 30- or 40-year problem" in not only Afghanistan, he said, but throughout the Middle East.

"Looking backwards, I would have actually left the Taliban government in power and said (to them): 'Stay out of the way. We're here to find al Qaeda. And as long as you stay out of the way, the special forces will go in there, they will do what is necessary to get al Qaeda and we will leave,"' Fraser said.

"Had we done that, we wouldn't be where we are today."

The comments are unexpected and surprising, not the least because they come from a soldier whose troops were the first to face a Taliban resurgence in south; someone who championed the combat mission's aims and articulated the goal of bringing stability to the ungoverned region.

"We compounded the problem by getting rid of the Taliban regime," he said. "I didn't like the Taliban regime, but why did we go there in the first place? It was because of al Qaeda. Not because of the Taliban."

The reflections come just a day after the it was announced the Afghan government is expected to resume face-to-face talks with Taliban leaders next week in Pakistan. The negotiations are aimed at reviving a peace process that dissolved last summer after it was revealed that the Mullah Omar, the movement's reclusive leader, had died a few years ago - an event kept secret by the insurgent group.

Fraser said the West has only repeated the same mistakes over the last decade.

"We repeated it in Iraq," he said. "In Libya, we didn't put any ground troops in and we created an even bigger mess because there's no government whatsoever in Libya. We went back into Iraq and now for the very first time the international community is beginning to appreciate that regime change is not the solution - hence why we're not pushing to do a regime change in Syria."

The West has insisted that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad should go, but it has not pushed him out of power - one of the factors in that country's long, bloody civil war.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Ginsburg's impact on women spanned age groups, backgrounds

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Sure, there were the RBG bobbleheads, the Halloween getups, the lace collars, the workout videos. The "I dissent" T-shirts, the refrigerator magnets, the onesies for babies or costumes for cats. And yes, the face masks, with slogans like: "You can't spell TRUTH without RUTH. Source
  • Woman accused of sending ricin letter to White House arrested

    Canada News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Three law enforcement officials say a woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to White House, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border. The officials say the woman was taken into custody by U.S. Source
  • Woman suspected of mailing ricin to White House arrested at U.S.-Canada border

    World News CBC News
    Three U.S. law enforcement officials say a woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to White House and President Donald Trump, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border. The officials say the woman was taken into custody by U.S. Source
  • Searchers find body of one of two teens missing after boat capsized off P.E.I.

    Canada News CTV News
    ALBERTON, P.E.I. -- An underwater search team has found the body of one of two 17-year-old boys who went missing when their boat capsized off Prince Edward Island last week. An RCMP spokesman says searchers recovered the body of Ethan Reilly at about 5:30 p.m. Source
  • Storm-weary Texas, Louisiana prepare as Beta churns closer

    World News CBC News
    Tropical storm Beta trudged toward the coasts of Texas and Louisiana on Sunday, threatening to bring more rain, wind and stress to a part of the country that has already been drenched and battered during this year's unusually busy hurricane season. Source
  • Alberta couldn't sell bonds earlier this year, Kenney says, as he continues push for federal reform

    Canada News CBC News
    As part of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's push for Ottawa to recalculate its fiscal stabilization fund, he cited government bonds Sunday as a dire indicator of the necessity for federal aid. "To be blunt, there were a few weeks where we couldn't sell Alberta government bonds," Kenney said in an interview on CTV's Question Period. Source
  • Shapovalov's run in Rome ends in 3-set semifinal loss to Diego Schwartzman

    Canada News CBC News
    Canadian Denis Shapovalov's steady run at the Italian Open ended Sunday with a semifinal loss to Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. The No. 8-seeded Schwartzman beat Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (4) to advance to Monday's finals, where he'll play world No. Source
  • Thousands protest Netanyahu; many ignore Israeli virus rules

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Thousands of Israelis resumed their weekly protest Sunday outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence in central Jerusalem, despite a new nationwide lockdown order aimed at curbing a raging coronavirus outbreak. An exception allowing people to hold public demonstrations was included in the three-week lockdown imposed last Friday. Source
  • Horse trailer flips on Hwy. 401 in Kingston, Ont., horses treated for cuts

    Canada News CTV News
    KINGSTON -- Two horses were treated for minor cuts after a horse trailer flipped on Highway 401 in Kingston, Ont. Ontario Provincial Police say the incident happened in the westbound lanes of Highway 401 at Highway 38 Sunday afternoon. Source
  • Sask. reports 20 new COVID-19 cases

    Canada News CTV News
    REGINA -- Saskatchewan reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of active cases to 140. There are seven new cases located in the Saskatoon area, 10 in the Regina area and two in the south east region. Source