Marking 10 Years After Afghanistan

The chain of events that would bring Canadian soldiers into the desolate and dangerous terrain of Afghanistan began on September 11, 2001. On that day, four airliners were hijacked in the skies over the eastern United States; two were deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center towers and one into the Pentagon, resulting in the death of nearly 3,000 people.

Evidence suggested the terrorist group al-Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, was responsible. An extremist regime, the Taliban, had provided sanctuary for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The civil war that broke out after the former Soviet Union withdrew from its military occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s would see the Taliban regime gain control of the country. The Taliban severely limited civil rights and supported international terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda. In the wake of September 11, the United States and the world took action through the United Nations and NATO.[1]

Canada responds

More than 40,000 Canadians would serve in the region. This was the largest deployment of our troops since the Second World War. The conflict lasted more than 12 years— the longest in Canada’s history.[2]

Canada’s combat role in the country ended in 2011 when the focus shifted to training Afghanistan’s army and police force and the last of our service members left the country in March 2014. But Canada’s efforts in the troubled country have been numerous. In addition to their military activities, Canadian Armed Forces members engaged in many humanitarian efforts like digging wells, rebuilding schools and distributing medical and relief supplies, both as part of their official mission and on a volunteer basis.[3]

The human cost

One hundred and fifty-eight members of the Forces were killed and thousands were wounded and injured over the course of the mission in Afghanistan.

The thousands of injuries, mental and physical, that have affected the lives of serving members as well as their families must also be acknowledged.

The impact of Afghanistan persists enormously today in our Veteran community. We need to – and we will – continue to support all those whose lives have been affected by this mission.

The Captain Nichola Goddard Fund

On May 17, 2006, Captain Nichola Goddard was killed during a firefight in the Panjwaye District. She became the first female Canadian Armed Forces member to die in combat duty.

In partnership with the Goddard Family, True Patriot Love administers The Captain Nichola Goddard Fund which provides national funding to directly benefit community programs that support servicewomen, Veteran women, and their families.

[1] Source: Afghanistan – Canadian Armed Forces – History – Veterans Affairs Canada

[2] Source: Afghanistan – Veterans Affairs Canada

[3] Afghanistan – Canadian Armed Forces – History – Veterans Affairs Canada