The 2006 operation code named Medusa, and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s role in it, has transfixed Canada’s politicians for the past three weeks, yet no one is talking about how the hard-won gains of the operation stand in danger of being wiped out.
Twelve Canadian soldiers lost their lives to drive the Taliban from the Zhari and Panjwaii districts adjacent to Kandahar city. At the time it was the most significant land battle ever undertaken by NATO.
For the past two weeks Sajjan has been trying to regain his credibility after claiming to be the sole ‘architect’ of the operation. And while he served as a liaison officer with local Afghan officials and provided Canadian commanders with valuable intelligence and insight which helped them plan the battle, the opposition Conservatives appear unwilling to let his boast pass, even going so far as to introduce a non-binding motion of non-confidence in an attempt to get Sajjan to step down.
Taliban wants to reclaim that ground
But regardless of who planned Medusa, the real tragedy of the battle is that the Taliban remains determined to reclaim the land it lost.
Close observers of the war believe Taliban fighters are poised to target both Zhari and Panjwaii as part of a plan to stitch together the whole Pashtun heartland of Afghanistan under their oppressive control.
U.S. Army veteran Bill Roggio is editor of the Long War Journal, a publication of Washington’s Foundation for the Defence of Democracies that maintains an up-to-date map of who controls Afghanistan.
‘The Canadian Army was very professional, and very proficient on the battlefield and was able to deal the Taliban tactical defeats’
– Bill Roggio, editor of the Long War Journal
In 2006, he was in Kandahar embedded with the Canadian Army’s Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
“The Canadian Army was very professional, and very proficient on the battlefield and was able to deal the Taliban tactical defeats,” he…