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When the war in Afghanistan started, NATO forces crushed the Taliban regime, in fairly short order.
That was the easy part. But wiping out the Taliban altogether... Well, that's a whole different story. The war has gone on now, for more than eight years, and in many NATO countries, it's become increasingly unpopular. NATO forces are still struggling to control much of Afghanistan, and over the past year, the Taliban has made startling gains around Kandahar - Afghanistan's second largest city.
Canada has twenty-eight hundred soldiers in the south of the country - one of the most dangerous areas. And our military has paid a heavy price. One hundred and forty Canadian soldiers have been killed, as well as four Canadian civilians. Our troops are due to withdraw in about a year, but not before a violent summer.
The United States has sent in an extra thirty thousand troops, to win control of Taliban strongholds, and eventually, transfer them to Afghan authority. It's a surge to try and defeat the Taliban once and for all. And the next six to ten months could be the tipping point for success.
CBC journalist Brian Stewart recently returned from Afghanistan, and says Canada should brace itself for our biggest military action in more than six years.