History of Canada’s Engagement in Afghanistan 2001–2014

2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 
2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014

Canada's Operations in Afghanistan

Historically

  • Canada first established diplomatic relations with Afghanistan in 1968 to coordinate the humanitarian and development work that it began providing in the early 1960s in response to a series of natural disasters.
  • Prior to 2001, the Canadian International Development Agency’s assistance to Afghanistan consisted largely of humanitarian aid, ranging between $10 and $20 million per year for basic human needs.

2001

  • September 11: A series of suicide attacks by the terrorist group Al-Qaeda take place in the United States.
  • September 12: United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopts Resolution 1368, supporting efforts to root out terrorism in Afghanistan.
  • October 7: On the same day that the United States begins operations against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Canada announces that it is prepared to contribute sea, land and air forces to America’s Operation Enduring Freedom under the Canadian operation named OP APOLLO.
  • October 8: Canada announces that it will contribute air, land and sea forces to Operation Enduring Freedom.
  • October 9: The first Canadian asset, HMCS HALIFAX, already at sea with the NATO Standing Force Atlantic, is directed to detach from this force and proceed to the Arabian Sea. Halifax begins counter-terrorism operations as part of Operation APOLLO on 2 November. Halifax is joined by two more frigates, a destroyer and a replenishment ship, bringing the Canadian Task Group to full strength. HMCS Vancouver is also in theatre as part of an American Aircraft Carrier Battle Group.
  • December 5: Bonn conference establishes the terms of an agreement for the Afghan Interim Government to lead the country following the fall of the Taliban.
  • December 22: Hamid Karzai is sworn in as Chairman of this interim body, which is to be succeeded within 6 months by a Transitional Government, selected through an emergency Loya Jirga (a grand council that regroups locally selected male representatives from different tribes and factions in Afghanistan).
  • December 22: The United Nations Security Council authorizes the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Its mandate is to maintain security in and around Kabul so employees of the Afghan Interim Government and the United Nations can operate in a secure environment.

2002

  • January: Canada re-establishes diplomatic relations with Afghanistan.
  • January: Following the ‘International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan’ in Tokyo, Canada responds to the Government of Afghanistan's appeal for long-term development investments by significantly bolstering its commitment to the country.
  • February: First elements of the Canadian Battalion Group based on the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (3 PPCLI) arrives in Afghanistan and becomes an integral part of the 187th Brigade Combat Team of the US 101st Airborne Division.
  • March 28: The United Nations Security Council establishes the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). In conjunction with the interim government, UNAMA is responsible for managing and coordinating all United Nations humanitarian relief, recovery and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.
  • June 13: The Loya Jirga elects Hamid Karzai as President of the new transitional government of Afghanistan. The interim government is to lead Afghanistan until a fully representative government can be elected through free and fair elections, which are to be held no later than two years after this Loya Jirga.
  • October: Canadian troops deploy to Afghanistan as part of US-led Operation Enduring Freedom.

2003

  • August: Under the mandate of Operation Athena, Canadian Forces deploy to Kabul to take part in the National Security Force’s (ISAF) mission to help maintain security in Kabul and the surrounding areas.
  • August: Canada opens its embassy in Kabul.

2004

  • January: Afghanistan implements a new constitution.
  • March: Canada commits $250 million in aid to Afghanistan, and $5 million to support the 2004 Afghan presidential election.
  • October: First Afghan Presidential elections are held since the fall of the Taliban, confirming Hamid Karzai as President. Elections are organized by the United Nations with the help of the international community.

2005

  • August: Canada assumes leadership of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team. Approximately 350 military, police, foreign affairs, correctional services and development personnel assist Afghans with the provision of governance, security and development.
    - CAF operating under Op ATHENA in Kabul begin transitioning to Kandahar Province.
  • September: First Afghan Parliamentary elections (Wolesi Jirga) are held since the fall of the Taliban. Elections are organized by the United Nations with the help of the international community.

2006

  • January: CAF members begin conducting combat operations in Kandahar. At its height, nearly 3,000 CAF members were deployed at any one time in Kandahar as part of Op ATHENA.
  • February: Canadian medical personnel assume command of the Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. Canadians would remain in command until 2008 and medical personnel continued to serve until December 2011.
  • August: The first Canadian Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT) deploys to Kandahar. OMLTs worked with Afghan soldiers and police to deliver individual and group training, to mentor leaders at every rank level, and to provide liaison with ISAF forces in partnered operations.

2007

  • February: Prime Minister Harper directs $200 million in additional reconstruction and development funds in support of Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan.
  • October: The Government of Canada commissions the Independent Panel to examine Canada’s mission in Afghanistan and to make recommendations on the future of Canada’s role within Afghanistan.

2008

  • January: The Independent Panel issues its report, more commonly known as the “The Manley Report” (the Panel was led by former Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley) recommending more focused priorities, clear benchmarks, more frequent communications to Canadians regarding Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan and integrated planning. 
  • February: Parliament votes to extend the combat mission in Kandahar to 2011.
  • June: Canada sets the future course for its engagement in Afghanistan until 2011, establishing six priorities and three signature projects for Afghanistan, and shifts 50% of its programming to Kandahar.
    • The first four priorities focus primarily on Kandahar:
      • maintain a more secure environment and establish law and order by building the capacity of the Afghan National Army and Police, and support complementary efforts in the areas of justice and corrections;
      • provide jobs, education and essential services, like water;
      • provide humanitarian assistance to people in need, including refugees; and
      • enhance the management and security of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
    • The last two priorities have a national focus:
      • build Afghan institutions that are central to our Kandahar priorities and support democratic processes such as elections; and
      • contribute to Afghan-led political reconciliation efforts aimed at weakening insurgency and fostering sustainable peace.
    • The three signature projects are:
      • rehabilitating the Dahla Dam and its irrigation system in Kandahar province;
      • building and repairing 50 schools in targeted districts of Kandahar province and training 3000 teachers in the Province; and
      • eradicating polio at the national level.
    • At this time:
      • Canada’s civilian presence in Afghanistan grows three-fold;
      • Quarterly Reports to Parliament and benchmarks are established regarding Canada's engagement in Afghanistan; and
      • Canada announces it will increase its 10-year allocation to development and reconstruction in Afghanistan from $1.3 billion to $1.9 billion (2001 to 2011).
  • June: Paris Conference: Ministers from Canada and 67 other countries assemble for an International Conference in Support of Afghanistan. The Paris Conference reinforces international support for the 2006 Afghanistan Compact, the multinational collaboration that contributes to Afghan development, and raises $20 billion in pledges for the country’s development strategy.
  • August: The Canadian Governance Support Office begins operations to provide expert technical advice to the Afghan government in key areas, which  are outlined in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy, including: policing services, human rights law, elections operations, vocational programming and education, engineering, financial management and administration..

2009

  • March: The international conference on Afghanistan begins in The Hague. Delegations from 72 countries discuss the future of Afghanistan and the role that the international community can play.
  • May: Canada introduces the Afghanistan Challenge, a fund-raising initiative that supports the development projects of Canadian organizations and raises awareness about projects that benefit the lives of Afghans.
  • June: As part of its commitment to better inform Canadians of Canada’s role in Afghanistan, Canada launches its cross-Canada tour of the Afghansitan360 multimedia exhibit.
  • August 20: First Afghan-led Presidential and Provincial Council elections are held since the fall of the Taliban. Hamid Karzai is reelected as President. These elections mark the second set of democratic elections the country has held since the fall of the Taliban.
  • December: The Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing deploys to Afghanistan to provide air mobility support to coalition troops, as well as airlift, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. It stood down in August 2011.

2010

  • January: The second London Conference takes place, bringing together the international community and partners to fully align military and civilian resources behind an Afghan-led political strategy.
  • July: The Kabul Conference renews the international community’s commitment to Afghanistan and the Afghan people. More than 75 countries and international organizations participate in the event, which is organized by the Government of Afghanistan.
    • During this conference, the international community and the Government of Afghanistan agree to Afghanistan’s transition plan—the Inteqal process—to see Afghans assume leadership of security, governance and economic development.
  • September: First Afghan-led parliamentary elections to elect members of the Wolesi Jirga (lower house) are held. These are the second parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, but the first Afghan-led since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
  • November: Government of Canada announces Canada’s role in Afghanistan until 2014 based on four priorities: education and health; security; regional diplomacy; and humanitarian assistance.

2011

  • March: Afghanistan announces that Afghan forces will begin assuming responsibility for security in seven areas in Afghanistan. The transfer of security responsibility for the seven areas represents a first and very significant step in the Inteqal process, which will see lead responsibility for security across the country transferred from ISAF to the Afghan National Security Forces by the end of 2014.
  • May: Operation ATTENTION begins – Canada contributes the second-largest contingent to the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan which delivers training and professional development support to the national security forces of Afghanistan
  • June: The contingent of Canadian government officials at the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team depart as the targets on our six priorities and three signature projects are nearly completed.
  • July: Canada ends its combat mission in Kandahar province. The Mission Transition Task Force arrives in Afghanistan to prepare, repair, pack and ship vehicles, equipment and material elsewhere in Afghanistan or back to Canada.
  • July: Canada begins a new engagement based out of Kabul with a focus on four priorities:
    • investing in the future of Afghan children and youth through development programming in education and health;
    • advancing security, the rule of law and human rights including through the provision of up to 950 CF trainers, their support personnel, and approximately 45 Canadian civilian police to help train Afghan National Security Forces;
    • promoting regional diplomacy; and
    • delivering humanitarian assistance.
  • July: The Inteqal process begins: Afghan forces begin to assume responsibility for security in seven areas in Afghanistan; including the provinces of Bamyan and Panjshir, Herat city, Kabul province, Lashkar Gah (Helmand), Mazar-e-Sharif (Balkh), and Mehtar Lam (Laghman).
  • November 2: The Istanbul Conference on Afghanistan takes place in the objective of promoting regional security and cooperation in the Heart of Asia (Central and South Asia). The conference's declaration includes confidence-building measures to be implemented by Afghanistan and its neighbours to combat terrorism and narcotics, and reinforce regional economic integration.
  • November 27: Afghanistan announces the second set of Afghan provinces, districts and cities to start the security transition process, whereby Afghan forces take over responsibility for security from international forces.
  • December 5: The International Conference on Afghanistan in Bonn, Germany takes place ten years after the fall of the Taliban. The international community and Afghanistan agree on a renewed partnership, based on respect of mutual commitments, for 'the Transformation Decade,' beyond 2014.
  • December 15: The last rotation of troops returns to Canada from Kandahar after completing the closeout of military operations in Kandahar Province as part of Mission Transition Task Force (MTTF) from July to December 2011.

2012

  • May 21: Prime Minister Harper announces that Canada will contribute $110 million per year over three years (2015-2017) towards helping sustain the Afghan National Security Forces.
  • June 2: Glenn Davidson presented his credentials to President Hamid Karzai and officially assumed the position of Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan.
  • July 8: Canada announces that it will contribute $227 million from 2014-2017 for continued development efforts.
  • July 8: Canada announces that it will contribute $227 million from 2014-2017 for continued development efforts.

2013

  • June: The final rotation of CAF members to Afghanistan begins deploying, including the mission closure team to pack-up and recover equipment to be returned to Canada.
  • June 18: The fifth and final tranche of transition is announced. Afghan national security forces assume security across the whole country with coalition forces providing support.
  • July 3: As a member of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, Canada attends Senior Officials Meeting to review the first year’s progress on the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF).
  • October 10: Ambassador Deborah Lyons presents her diplomatic credentials to President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.
  • December 1: Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular) Lynne Yelich wraps up a successful first visit to Kabul, where she reinforces Canada’s ongoing commitment to helping Afghanistan achieve long-term peace and prosperity. She further announces a Canadian contribution of more than $1.8 million for two projects that will help support a more credible and representative democratic process during the 2014 elections in Afghanistan.

2014

  • February 14: Minister Baird releases a statement marking the start of the Presidential Election encouraging all Afghan women and men to participate actively in a peaceful and constructive manner.
  • March: The final rotation of CAF members to Afghanistan begins deploying, including the mission closure team to pack-up and recover equipment to be returned to Canada.
  • March 4: Minister of State Yelich releases a statement marking the start of Provincial Council Elections, calling for the active participation of all Afghan women and men, noting that “The full and meaningful participation of Afghan women in society is critical to ensuring Afghanistan’s sustainable development and economic prosperity in the years to come.”
  • March 12: Canada marks the conclusion of its military training mission in Afghanistan during a flag lowering ceremony in Kabul. The ceremony also recognizes the conclusion of Canada’s current civilian policing mission.
  • Date: In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper recognizes the more than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members have fought to defeat the threat of terrorism and to ensure the freedom of others, to build a stronger, safer world.  He further notes that the end of the military mission and the lowering of the flag is a significant milestone in the fight against global terror and that Canada will continue to play an important role in supporting efforts that contribute to building a better future for all Afghans.
  • March 14: Prime Minister Harper welcomes home the last contingent of Canada’s brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces when their flight from Afghanistan arrives in Ottawa.