A chronology of Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan

A chronology of key dates spanning Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan:


Oct. 7: Prime Minister Jean Chretien announces Canada’s participation in an international anti-terrorism mission in Afghanistan

December: Canada establishes military presence in Afghanistan with the arrival of about 40 troops from Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2), a secretive special forces unit.


Feb. 2: First regular combat troops, members of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, arrive in Afghanistan for a six-month mission.

April 18: Canada registers its first casualties when four soldiers are killed in a friendly fire incident. The troops were on a training exercise when they were hit by a bomb dropped by an American pilot.

May 21: Canada announces plans to withdraw 750 ground troops from Afghanistan by end of August.


Feb. 12: Canada commits to sending more than 1,000 troops to join the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Kabul.

July: More than 1,800 Canadian troops arrive in Kabul and join in the ISAF mission to restore order in the region, dubbed Operation Athena.


Jan. 20: Nearly 2,000 troops from CFB Valcartier in Quebec arrive to relieve the first wave of soldiers participating in the ISAF mission.

Feb. 9: Canadian Forces Lt.-Gen. Rick Hillier takes six-month command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, leading 5,500 soldiers from more than 30 countries.

April 15: Prime Minister Paul Martin says Canada will maintain a military presence in Afghanistan when the main ISAF mission ends in August, promising a 600-member battle group and 200-member air force support group will remain in the country

Aug. 8: Hillier relinquishes command of ISAF. The bulk of Canadian troops withdraw from Kabul.


Jan. 15: Diplomat Glyn Berry becomes the first civilian to die as part of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. Berry was killed in a suicide attack on the armoured vehicle he was travelling in.

Feb. 28: Brig. Gen. David Fraser assumes command of the multinational NATO-led force in southern Afghanistan.

April 16: Canadian International Development Agency suspends aid projects in Afghanistan, calling the region too dangerous.

May 17: Capt. Nicola Goddard of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery is killed in an ambush, the first Canadian woman to die in action while serving in a combat role. House of Commons extends Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan to February 2009.

August: About 2,000 soldiers move into Kandahar province.

Sept. 3: Four soldiers are killed and nine others injured during Operation Medusa, an intensive effort to purge Taliban insurgents from Kandahar province.

Sept 4: Another soldier is lost to friendly fire when U.S. planes accidentally bomb NATO forces.


Feb. 13: NATO top commander Gen. John Craddock appeals to member countries to commit more troops to Afghanistan.

Feb. 21: Amnesty International and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association ask federal courts to halt the practice of transferring prisoners to foreign governments. The move comes in response to allegations that prisoners were being tortured in Afghan custody.

Mar. 19: Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor apologizes to the House of Commons for providing inaccurate information on the execution of the Canada-Afghanistan Detainee-Transfer Agreement. O’Connor had said the International Committee of the Red Cross was responsible for monitoring the status of prisoners transferred to Afghan custody. The ICRC was, in fact, not in charge of overseeing the agreement and was only obligated to report findings to the detaining country.

April 8: Six Canadian soldiers are killed by a roadside bomb, making it the deadliest day in combat for Canadian troops since the Korean War.

April 25: A Globe and Mail article reveals government officials prepared a report acknowledging prisoners transferred to Afghan custody faced the possibility of torture.

May 3: Canada signs a new prisoner transfer agreement with Afghanistan that grants Canadian officials more access to insurgents who have been moved to Afghan custody.

June 21: NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer requests that Canada remain in Afghanistan beyond 2009.

July 4: Six Canadian soldiers and their translator are killed by a roadside bomb while riding in an armoured vehicle in Afghanistan’s Panjwaii district.

October: Prime Minister Stephen Harper orders an independent panel, led by former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley, to evaluate whether Canada should extend its military mission in Afghanistan.


Jan. 22: The Manley panel releases a report saying Canada should remain in Afghanistan beyond 2009, but shift the focus of its efforts from combat to training of Afghan security forces.

March 13: House of Commons votes to extend Canada’s mission in Afghanistan until 2011.

June 13: Taliban insurgents storm Kandahar’s Sarpoza prison, freeing about 900 inmates.

Oct. 12: CBC journalist Mellissa Fung is kidnapped while reporting at a refugee camp near Kabul.

Nov. 8: Fung is released unharmed after nearly four weeks in captivity in an underground cave.

Dec. 5: Canada’s military death toll in Afghanistan reaches 100 as three soldiers are killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Kandahar province.


Nov. 18: Former diplomat Richard Colvin tells a Commons committee Canada’s military turned prisoners over to Afghan intelligence in 2006-07, despite warnings they would be tortured. Colvin says he was told by his superiors to stop filing written reports on the matter.

Dec. 1: U.S. President Barack Obama announces 30,000 American troops will be sent to southern Afghanistan in the coming months to help quell insurgent activity.

Dec. 30: Calgary Herald journalist Michelle Lang and four Canadian soldiers are killed _ Foreign Affairs official Bushra Saeed and four more soldiers are also seriously injured _ when their armoured vehicle is hit by an improvised explosive device. Lang is the only Canadian journalist to die as part of the military mission.


May 18: Col. Geoff Parker is killed when a car packed full of explosives drives into a NATO convoy. Parker, 42, is the highest-ranking Canadian soldier to be killed in Afghanistan.

May. 29: Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard, then commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, is dismissed from his post amid allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a member of his staff.

July 15: Canada hands control of Kandahar city over to American troops, two weeks after relinquishing command of Zhari and Arghandab districts. Canada retains responsibility for Dand and Panjwaii districts.

Nov. 11: Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces the Canadian military presence in Afghanistan will continue in a non-combat role until 2014.


Jan. 12: Canada hands command of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in southern Afghanistan over to U.S. control, marking the beginning of the formal withdrawal from the region.

April 25: Second breakout at Kandahar’s Sarpoza Prison, in which 425 inmates escape via an underground tunnel.

May 2: U.S. President Barack Obama tells the world of the death of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, killed in a U.S. raid on a compound in Pakistan.

May 24: One last contingent of Canadian family members arrives in Kandahar to pay tribute to loved ones who died as part of the combat mission in Afghanistan.

May 30: Prime Minister Stephen Harper pays a final surprise visit to soldiers in Kandahar, declaring Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan a success because the region is far safer than it was when Canadian soldiers arrived in 2006.

June 6: Canada’s last major combat operation in Afghanistan comes to an end.

June 8: Canadian soldiers at the forward operating base known as Ma’sum Ghar hold a ceremony to remember 72 of their fellow soldiers who died while stationed at the mountainous outpost.

June 25: Master Cpl. Francis Roy, a member of the Canada’s special forces regiment, is found dead at a forward operating base. The death is described by the military as non-combat related.

July 5: Canadian commanders formally hand over command in Kandahar to U.S. forces, effectively ending Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan nine years and seven months after special forces soldiers first arrived late in 2001.

Oct. 29: Master Cpl. Byron Greff is killed in a suicide car bombing in Kabul. He is the 158th and last Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan.


Jan. 18: Civilian contractors Martin Glazer of Gatineau, Que. and Peter McSheffrey of Ottawa are killed in a suicide attack in Kabul.

March 12: The Canadian flag is lowered at the NATO headquarters in Kabul, marking the formal end to Canada’s operations in Afghanistan.

March 18: The last 93 Canadian soldiers land in Ottawa, to be greeted by Gov. Gen. David Johnston, the prime minister and Gen. Tom Lawson, the chief of the defence staff.

May 9: National Day of Honour to commemorate the mission.

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