Proud Dad! – MGen (ret) Clive Milner (left), Ted Davie and guest speaker MGen Dean Milner.

A large number of members were privileged to hear about Canada’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan from the final commander, MGen Dean Milner. MGen Milner was responsible for leading the last contingent of Canadian Forces home from that challenging country. His presentation covered our role in fighting the Taliban, assistance in training the national army and police force and also the incredible accomplishments of reconstruction and community building work. Some of the current numbers:

14,000 schools

7.9 million students

173,000 teachers

42,000 km of roads

MGen Milner described the evolving stages of the war from Canada’s role in Kabul to the many years in the hot-spot of Kandahar. He had two postings to this war zone.

The Afghan National Army (ANA) now stands at 352,000 members and has evolved from a strictly infantry force to one with many facets including artillery, engineers, logistics and signals. He feels that it is very capable with a few exceptional generals in leadership roles. A major emphasis is an attempt to shift the allegiance of members from their tribal roots to that of loyalty to the country. Thanks to the Americans, the ANA is very well equipped.

One aspect of the training initiatives has been the establishment of an RMC/Sandhurst type college to train officers. Canadian officer were very effective as mentors working alongside senior officers of the ANA and government officials.

The CF has recently conducted a ‘lessons learned’ exercise to ensure that any mistakes that may have been made will not be repeated. MGen Milner is optimistic that Afghanistan will overcome its challenges and develop into a respectable country.

MGen Milner is now commander of 1 Cdn Div with its HQ in Kingston.

More photos from the Kingston Branch luncheon here.