Canada’s army commander told a conference at the University of New Brunswick on Wednesday about the lessons learned by the Canadian military from its involvement in Afghanistan.

Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin told a conference of veterans, academics and students that Afghanistan taught Canadian soldiers their role in conflict situations was often secondary.

"It's the population that turns the threat away," he said.

"It's the population that turns the Taliban away. It's not the Canadian soldier, the Canadian soldier is there to provide a level of confidence in the future, there is enough of an infrastructure there to be able to allow that Afghan to say, ‘Hey, Taliban, you are not welcome in our community, we have a brighter future without you.'"

Devlin said it was only after Canada committed substantial resources in 2006, that it started to make a difference.