For Canadian troops in Afghanistan, 2008 was another year in hell.
Canadian soldiers had been in the wartorn country since 2001, helping to oppose Taliban insurgents, provide security while Afghans rebuilt, train members of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and support Canadian programs for political and economic reconstruction.
In 2005, Canada took over responsibility for the volatile Kandahar Province. In Panjwaii District, the heartland of the province, lived about 80,000 Afghans—not all of them sympathizers with NATO forces. In 2006, a campaign to rid Panjwaii of insurgents cost 16 Canadian lives and two years later the area was nowhere near safe.
The Canadian Armed Forces fielded mentor teams to work alongside ANA units to protect the local population, root out insurgent strongh...