Saturday, June 23, 2007

Letter From the Afghan Front

(A letter from Cpt Brown to his friends and family had been written in January 07. This reiterates our reasons for being overseas - thank you Cpt Brown and all our soldiers for all you have done and do for us. .. and to the families - for the support you have given them and each other while they served and serve overseas.)

I apologize for the generic letter, but these days I don’t have a lot of time to [say] thanks to all the people who have offered me overwhelming support. Your support is not only appreciated but quite honestly sustains me through some of the worst days of my life. Bar none, this is an experience that I will never forget, and has changed me in so many ways.
I have been ambushed, attacked, bombed, mortared, mined and RPG’d to the point that I honestly cannot wait to get home. Half of our company has been wounded and, of 120 men, the enemy has killed six. Of the wounded, some have endured the loss of limbs, paralysis, and
one is learning to read and write again. The enemy is real – and a brutal enemy he is. Never have I believed more in a cause, and each and every day I believe in it more. Our enemy uses children to fight its battles and as shields, it coerces, threatens, blackmails, steals, sells opium and represses women. It murders elderly men simply because they associate with us,
and it corrupts a religion by holding it hostage. It is uneducated and illiterate, but certainly not stupid. It places its mines strategically and wages a war of terror so that the locals live in fear.

Most of the Taliban are foreign, and use the local population for their purpose but do not
care for their well-being. They force thelocals on missions with absolutely no chance of success and accuse them of being bad Muslims when they question it. They have no hesitation in causing massive civilian casualties if it results in even one coalition dead. As much as it is a sin to kill
your fellow man, it would be a bigger sin to let the Taliban have freedom of action in a country that does not want its return.

Contrary to what the media believes, Afghans do support the coalition, and we must support them. There is no shortage of people willing to die for [the Taliban] cause, but I am thankful that those people choose to fight us here, rather than [in Canada].
As for the development of this country, Canada and reporters in general have it wrong. The West will not rebuild this country; Afghans will – and are doing it each day. The West can facilitate the process, but it is becoming clearer that in [dangerous areas] international agencies
are reticent to help. My message to them is to get off their soapbox and take some risk.

Regardless of the situation, progress and development are continuing – particularly in parts of the country where there is no fighting. The media is focused on our area of operations, and
they forget about progress occurring around the country. The Taliban has massed around us
and we are willing to take on that burden. I want you very much to believe in what Canada is doing here in Kandahar.

Canada, at an international level, has stepped up and is taking a leadership role in NATO. We are doing what is right, not what is easy. It is important that we carry the load at least until the end of our mandate, at which time we can let someone else take the lead. You have made this
possible, and we should all be very proud to be Canadian right now.

Currently, we are committed to seeing the construction of a road, a simple road, but a road that has cost us seven soldiers including two from my Company, Sgt Darcy Tedford and Pte Blake Williamson. I am so proud to be with soldiers like these and am happy to report that they have
represented us all so well. The rest of us will stand here with our Afghan brothers, and this road will get finished.
I have been raised as most other Canadians, with a sense of duty and fair play that is directly related to the relationships I have with my family, my community and my country.

Thanks for everything.

Captain Steve G. Brown,
Pro Patria
1 RCR (Charles Company)

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