The fall of Panjwaii cast a long shadow on the Afghan veterans in Canada


After Panjwaii-a wild and angry area in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan-was occupied by the Taliban this week, many Canadian soldiers who fought in the area for the war in Afghanistan were shocked, numb and resigned. Most of the five years.

A lot of Canadian blood sprinkled on that desolate and scorched land. Some of them belonged to the former corporal Bruce Moncur.

In this area west of Kandahar, a lot of sweat and heartbreak have also been drawn into rough, sun-bleached grape and hemp fields.

Just ask Bruno Guevremont, the retired lead seaman.

In the spring of 2009, the center of Panjwaii District as seen from the Canadian Forces Forward Operations Base in Ma’sum Ghar, west of Kandahar City. (Murray Brewster/Canada Press)

In many ways, both have left a little bit of themselves in Panjwaii-a vast, once prosperous chessboard made up of sand, farmland, and ancient extinct volcanoes rising steeply from the desert floor.

When soldiers mentioned the killing fields in Kandahar, they were usually talking about Panjwaii, where Canadian troops fought most of the battle and died in endless fields, mud walls and empty villages.

Faced with an often invisible enemy, they fought for this place over and over again in a combat mission five years ago, which officially ended this week ten years ago.

The Taliban-the enemy Canadian soldiers managed to stop but never completely defeated-swept Panjwaii last weekend, causing a major defeat and a major psychological blow to the Afghan army after the U.S. withdrawal.

‘It will never end’

Following the victory in Panjwaii, it was reported that Taliban insurgents invaded Kandahar city later this week. The Taliban desperately wanted to control Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan, and shed a lot of their own blood when trying to get there—mainly Canadians got in the way.

The city and its surrounding areas are their spiritual home, birthplace, and first power center, from which they projected their cruel version of Islam in the 1990s.

Bruno Guevremont, the retired chief seaman, was a bomb disposal technician who served in the Canadian Army in Afghanistan. (Bruno Gevremont/Facebook)

Guevremont said that he was shocked to think that the villagers he protected, sometimes sharing tea and flatbread with them, were about to return to that tragic situation.

“When I heard that Panjwaii, the (Afghan National Army) had retreated and the Taliban moved back, how did I feel? It was anxiety. It was exhaustion,” said Gevremont, who dismantled the rebellion bomb and lifted it Armed with a living suicide bomber alone in the spring of 2009.

“It’s like, this never ends. It never ends. I’m thinking about the local population. I mean, I made friends there.”

Bruno Guevremont said that he was the only member of the Canadian Armed Forces to remove the suicide vest from a live-fire bomber. (Bruno Gevermont/Facebook)

He said the news reminded him of the vivid memory of his team being called to the school three times to dismantle the bomb.

“Once we got there too late, an improvised explosive device actually detonated at the school, so many children died,” said Gevremont. “When the children were over from school, there were two improvised explosive devices ready to explode. We rushed there in time and dismantled those improvised explosive devices.”

Although he is worried about ordinary Afghans who are caught in the path of the Taliban, he said that he also remembers the insecurities of being an Afghan outsider-not knowing who can be trusted.

Guevremont recalled being asked by the locals to respond to the report of the rocket tied to the bottom of the bridge-it turned out that he was taken to a minefield. He had to dig and walk out on tiptoe.

Ten years later, he felt depressed and futile.

“So you are thinking,’What have we done for 20 years? What have we done there?'” he said.

He is not the only one asking these questions.

‘This is inevitable’

This week, the determination and patience of the 40,000 Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan were cracked on social media.

what used to be What is all this for? In the past decade, the answer to this question is that Canadian intervention has allowed Afghans to choose their own destiny.

But for some veterans, fatalism has prevailed.

“This is inevitable,” said Muncourt, who suffered serious head injuries at the beginning of Operation Medusa in 2006, the largest battle Canadians have fought during the war.

“To be honest, I think this will happen. I never thought that the Taliban’s control of Kandahar would be broken for so long.”

Bruce Monkul (right) in southern Afghanistan in 2006. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News)

Monkul and many soldiers like him have a pragmatic view of their service in Afghanistan: they have a job to do-stop the Taliban-they did it.

“It’s been 20 years now, a generation, we have lost a lot of blood and internal organs. But they have also lost,” he said, referring to the West’s full involvement in Afghanistan and Washington after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York.

The Taliban like to use a sentence in propaganda against Western forces: “You have a watch, but we have time.”

Muncourt said that he has gradually realized the truth of this statement.

“It is inevitable that unless we are willing to maintain this existence for thousands of years, they will eventually be among the best,” he said.

‘We did not finish the work’

Muncourt said that he believes that this war is not worth the sacrifice of life and wealth. As a veteran advocate who married Niki Ashton, a member of the New Democratic Party, his feelings about Panjwaii have important political significance.

He said that if Canada is serious about everything it claims (and sometimes continues to claim) its presence in Afghanistan, it will not withdraw from combat operations in 2011, nor will it leave the country completely in 2014.

He said: “It is difficult for me to deal with some of the political issues that emerged after this and the decision to leave.” “I mean, we did not finish the work.”

For soldiers like Mongkul, with regret and frustration over the fall of Panjwaii, the Canadian war in Afghanistan is now an ancient history.

“I’m gone,” he said. “I think many veterinarians have come out of this matter.

“I think if you have to ask them what they care more about, the Taliban take over Kandahar province or the military situation in our country, I’m pretty sure most people will talk about what is happening now is the Canadian army.”

But Canada left some loose endings in Afghanistan-flesh and blood endings.

In recent days, more and more people have called for Ottawa to rescue the local Afghan translators who worked for Canadians and were left behind after 2014. This shocked the Liberal government.

These calls started with ordinary soldiers, but now come from some former senior commanders in the country-they say they are not going to see people who risk their lives to the Taliban for Canada.



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