From Kabul to Kandahar: Change and the Canadian Forces

41 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 29 Sep 2009

Date Written: 2009


Occasionally the policy world creates a “natural experiment,” where a striking series of events creates dramatically different before-and-after conditions that can challenge existing understandings of political situations and relationships. The Canadian Forces (CF) who are engaged in operations in Afghanistan have recently undergone such a natural experiment, experiencing multiple major changes almost simultaneously. The keystone that cemented all these was the change in their primary location of deployment: the move from Kabul to Kandahar in August 2005. What had begun as a complex peace and stability operation, of the kind that seemed familiar to Canadians ever since the cold war ended in the early 1990s, morphed into a classic counterinsurgency operation, of a kind that Canada had not seen since the Boer War at the turn of the last century.

Suggested Citation

Marten, Kimberly, From Kabul to Kandahar: Change and the Canadian Forces (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:

Kimberly Marten (Contact Author)

Barnard College, Columbia Univ. ( email )

3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027-6598
United States
212-854-5115 (Phone)
212-854-3024 (Fax)


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