Task Force Kandahar

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Task Force Kandahar
TFK Logo.jpg
Country Canada USA
Allegiance NATO
RoleCombat operations
Part ofRegional Command South
HeadquartersKandahar Airfield
Commander TF 5-10Brigadier-General Dean Milner
TF 5-08TFK R5 Logo.jpg

Task Force Kandahar (TFK) was the formation conducting the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Kandahar Province under ISAF Regional Command South. When it concluded its mission in summer 2011, the formation included a Canadian Forces battle group, three U.S. Army battalions (two of infantry and one of military police), an engineer regiment, a signal squadron, Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams (OMLTs), and contributions to Operational Mentor and Advisory Teams (OMATs) and the Police Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (P-OMLT).[1]


Move from Kabul[edit]

On 29 November 2005, the Canadian base Camp Julien in southwest Kabul officially closed.[2] Canadian Forces (CF) components that were in Kabul under Operation Athena were relocated to Kandahar as part of the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism known as Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The Canadian component was initially designated Operation Archer. The Canadian Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) had already been at Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar since August 2005. The PRT integrated elements from the Canadian Forces (CF), Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).[3]

Task Force Afghanistan[edit]

In early 2006, Canada's contribution to Operation Archer increased to approximately 2300 personnel.[4] The then-designated Task Force Afghanistan also included a Canadian-led multinational brigade headquarters, designated Task Force Aegis, and Canadian battle group designated Task Force Orion centred on 1st Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (1 PPCLI).[5] This time frame also saw the introduction of the M777 howitzer as part of the task force in February 2006.[6] The period was highlighted by Operation Mountain Thrust and Operation Zahara (also designated the First Battle of Panjwaii).[7] 1 PPCLI was given the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation from the Governor-General of Canada for "exceptional determination and courage during relentless combat in Afghanistan, from January to August 2006".[8] On 31 July 2006, with the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mandate, US-led Coalition forces handed command of the southern region of Afghanistan to Regional Command South.[9] With the transfer of command authority, the majority of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan came again under Operation Athena.

Evolution of Task Force Kandahar[edit]

Task Force 3-06 (Operation Athena Rotation 2)[edit]

On 19 August 2006, the 1st Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group (1RCR BG) assumed command of the Kandahar Province area of operations from Task Force Orion. In early September 2006 the task force lead Operation Medusa with the aim to clear Taliban insurgents from a fortified position in Pashmul. For the operation, the battle group was partnered with forces from the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Afghanistan.[10] The Battle of Pashmul marked the first time NATO had engaged in combat operations at the battle group-level.[11] In the citation for the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation, the battle group had succeeded "where larger forces had failed, they prevented the enemy from realizing their goals of capturing the city and weakening international resolve and cohesion".[12] An Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT) was formed to work with the 1st Brigade of the 205 Atul (Hero) Corps (1/250 Corps), based in Kandahar Province. This surge, along with the deployment of a squadron of Leopard 1 tanks from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), CFB Edmonton, increased the number Canadian Forces in Afghanistan to 2500.[13] With Brigadier-General Timothy Grant assuming command of the Canadian elements in Kandahar in November 2006 and the construction of Provincial Operations Centre at Kandahar Airfield, the framework for Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) was in place.

Task Force 1-07 (Operation Athena Rotation 3)[edit]

Although the battle group for TF 1-07 was based on 2nd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment (2RCR) from CFB Gagetown, the headquarters for Task Force Kandahar was primarily force generated from Land Force Atlantic Area, taking on a greater responsibility than previously rotations' Nation Command Elements. The commander for Task Force Kandahar was also designated Commander Joint Task Force Afghanistan, ultimately responsible for all Canadian Forces personnel and assets deployed in southwest Asia.[14] The task force contributed to Operation Achilles mid-April to mid-March 2007, the clearing of Taliban fighters from Helmand Province. This offensive action was the largest NATO operation in Afghanistan up to this point.[15] On 15 May 2007, the Canadian OMLT took over full responsibility for the mentoring of 1/250 Corps from the United States Army.[16] In July 2007, the Government of Canada increased its diplomatic presence in Kandahar by appointing Michel de Salaberry as the Representative of Canada Kandahar (RoCK).[17]

Task Force 3-07 (Operation Athena Rotation 4)[edit]

Both the headquarters and the battle group were generated from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG) with Brigadier-General Guy Laroche as the commander. This rotation of the headquarters saw the "digitizing" of the task force, modernizing the command and control information systems within the task force and the standing up of Task Force Kandahar Signal Squadron.[18][19] The 3rd Battalion Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group (3 R22eR BG), which was awarded the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation, was "instrumental in dismantling improvised explosive device networks, re-capturing checkpoints and returning them to Afghan control, enhancing the capacity of Afghan forces and providing guidance on community building and local governance."[20] On 16 October 2007, the Government of Canada indicated the current mission was to end in 2011.[21]

Task Force 1-08 (Operation Athena Rotation 5)[edit]

  • Battle group – 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group
  • Provincial Reconstruction Team – B Company, 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
  • Task Force Kandahar – Rotation 4 Task Force Kandahar headquarters remained (9-month tour)
  • National Support Element(NSE), Supply and Transportation Company, 1 Service Battalion.
  • Dates – February 2008 – September 2008

Task Force 5-08[edit]

Based on headquarters from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, TF 5-08 was also part of Operation Athena Rotation 5, but as the headquarters were on nine-month tours instead of the standard six, the headquarters were no longer in sync with their respective rotation. The headquarters, although it was involved with force-generation exercises with both Rotation 5 and 6, the Commander, Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, referred to the headquarters as "Rotation 5.5". On the evening of 13 June 2008, Taliban fighters executed a raid on Kandahar’s Sarposa Prison, freeing as many as 1100 prisoners (approximately 400 Taliban).[22]

Task Force 3-08 (Operation Athena Rotation 6)[edit]

Task Force 5-09[edit]

Task Force 1-09 (Operation Athena Rotation 7)[edit]

  • Battle group – 2nd Battalion Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group
  • Dates – March 2009 – November 2009

Task Force 3-09 (Operation Athena Rotation 8)[edit]

Task Force 6-09[edit]

Task Force 1-10 (Operation Athena Rotation 9)[edit]

Task Force 3-10 (Operation Athena Rotation 10)[edit]

  • Battle group – 1st Battalion Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group
  • Dates – October 2010 – July 2011
  • Last task force under combat operations mandate

Task Force 5-10[edit]

  • Task Force Kandahar – Headquarters rotation only. Based on headquarters from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group.
  • Commander – Brigadier-General Dean Milner
  • Last headquarters prior to Mission Transition Task Force and Operation Attention.[26]
  • Canada's combat mission in Kanadar ends 7 July 2011.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Canadian Forces Operations". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Camp Julien closes in Afghanistan". CBC News. 29 November 2005. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (KPRT)". Archived from the original on 4 June 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Canadian Officer responsible for Regional Command South in Kandahar". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Patricias Take Charge of Kandahar Province". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Canadian Forces Procurement – US FMS Notice – Field Artillery – June 2008". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Battle of Panjwaii". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  8. ^ "Governor General Announces the Awarding of the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  9. ^ "ISAF's Mission in Afghanistan – The evolution of ISAF – Expansion of ISAF's presence in Afghanistan". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  10. ^ "Op MEDUSA – A Summary". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Pro Patria 2006 – 1RCR". Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  12. ^ "Governor General Announces the Awarding of the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  13. ^ Curry, Bill (15 September 2006). "Canada beefs up Afghan war commitment". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  14. ^ "Chapter 2 — The Mission". Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  15. ^ "Pro Patria 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  16. ^ "Understanding Afghanistan and Canada's National Security Interests" (PDF). Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  17. ^ "Canada beefs up diplomatic effort in Kandahar". Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  18. ^ "Canadian military brings high-tech warfare to Afghanistan". Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  19. ^ "Band of Brothers". Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  20. ^ "Governor General Announces the Awarding of the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  21. ^ "Strong leadership, a better Canada – Speech from the Throne. 2nd Session, 39th Parliament, 16 October 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  22. ^ "The Sarposa Prison Break" (PDF). Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  23. ^ "A rotation in review: BGen Denis Thompson reflects on tour's successes". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  24. ^ "Brig-Gen Menard relieved of command: Inappropriate conduct related to CF personal relationships and fraternization directives cited". Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  25. ^ "Canadians help corral Taliban as major operation begins". Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  26. ^ "The Canadian Forces in 2010 and 2011 ~ Looking Back and Looking Forward". Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  27. ^ "Canada Ends Combat Mission in Afghanistan". Retrieved 12 July 2011.