Ten years after Kandahar: the sacrifices that not soublient not

News 8 July, 2017
  • Photo Daniel Mallard

    Nicolas Saillant

    Saturday, 8th July 2017 00:00

    Saturday, 8th July 2017 00:00

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    10 years ago, in the summer of 2007, the military québec’s Royal 22e Regiment engaged in one of the missions in the most perilous since the Second world War, the deployment of some 2400 soldiers in Kandahar, a stronghold of the taliban. A decade later, this mission always marks those who participated in it.

    • Read also: Ten years after Kandahar: lives changed forever

    “The war was one of his hardest moments “, is reminiscent of the military at cfb Valcartier. The population was soon to be caught up in the harsh reality of this war.

    So, a few weeks only after the beginning of the deployment, the announcement of the death of a soldier is only 23 years old, Simon Longtin, killed by an improvised explosive device has created a shock wave in Quebec. The bad news from Afghanistan then poursuives, while 10 the military have lost their lives during this first rotation of Valcartier.

    And that was without counting the 13 others to death for the next rotation of 2008-2009. In addition, the homemade bombs that have become the true bane of our military, have also made a lot of wounded.

    Photo Daniel Mallard

    Long mission

    This long afghan mission, which stretched from January 2002 to July 2011, has been a heavy cost in human, social, and economic, but many are questioning today about the results. If the military still in the employment of the Forces believe they have ” made a difference locally “, others are much more sceptical, or even critical.

    “We had very little lasting results, but this is not the fault of our military forces, valiant, and brave, and have done a fantastic job “, says the retired colonel Michel Drapeau.

    Yet they are the ones who have the most lost. “I don’t think the military made this sacrifice consciously. They didn’t know they were putting their psychological health as much at risk as that. I don’t think we can imagine it, ” said Dr Edward Auger, chief medical of the OSI Clinic in Quebec, which deals with the military in post-traumatic shock.


    Photo Daniel Mallard

    Life after

    Still, this is not the majority of the military who have returned sick of this historic mission. This is the case of captain Simon Mailloux, who, in spite of an amputation after an explosion in 2007, is back for another rotation in 2009 (see another text).

    As for those who remain, they have remade their lives in the past 10 years, but they remember the sacrifice of their loved ones well beyond the day of Remembrance.

    Life after love

    Photo courtesy Samuel Blais-Gauthier

    Dolores Crampton


    The life of Dolores Crampton is literally stopped when she learned of the death of his buddy, military, Nicolas R. Beauchamp. Without forget, she has now taken a new departure, and expected today, a child.

    Medical technician military as her boyfriend of the time, Dolores Crampton was a few kilometres from Nicolas Beauchamp when he died on a homemade bomb at Ma’sum Ghar. The latter had just finished his shift at the hospital from the airport of Kandahar.

    “The next day, it has knocked at my door. When I opened the door, there was a line of people, the commanding officer, the social worker, etc, There, I knew that Nick had been enough, ” says Dolores. “Isolated” in Afghanistan, far from her relatives and friends, the military has found the early days very difficult.

    Repatriated with the body of corporal Nicolas Beauchamp, Dolores was morally affected for several months and was even forced to stop working in the medical field. “I asked for a change of profession because it was too hard, medical “, tells the story of one who became a photographer for the army after having cared for his post-traumatic shock.

    New spouse

    It is through this job that his life took a new direction with a spouse also in the military. “He has lived the same things as me. The two we know what it is to be deployed, to be separated for a long time and lose the world, ” says Dolores.

    And that life resumes its rights, Dolores is now five months pregnant. “I’ve always dreamed of having children, but I wanted to be certain to be well, and today it is the case “. This new joint has also been able to leave a place for Nicolas in the heart of Dolores. A painting of the deceased found in their home.

    Destroyed by the war

    Photo courtesy

    Stéphane Charbonneau


    The horror of the war, the sergeant Stéphane Charbonneau has seen the depths to him who was in charge of going and finding the dead bodies of his brothers in arms after each attack. Ten years later, the father of the family pays, however, of his sacrifices, he that is invalid at the age of 41.

    What could be more chaotic than a scene where a fatal attack has to occur while the enemy lurks, invisible. Yet it is at this precise moment that the platoon sergeant Charbonneau intervened.

    “I was responsible for picking up the bodies of soldiers who had died,” says the one who intervened for more than a dozen military Valcartier. “It is I who have all the facts,” he said with difficulty.

    Disturbed forever

    “We are going to seek the body, it is escorted up to Kandahar and then to be able to restore with the coroner what had happened “, he explains. Subsequently, the sergeant attended the ceremony of departure, and took the body up in Dubai.

    The first rotation of the military at cfb Valcartier in Kandahar, called in the jargon, the 307, has been difficult for Stéphane Charbonneau. Too difficult. “It is the mission that affected me the most. […] Since that time, I still have the smell of the dead in the nose. Do the BBQ in the summer, I am not able to, it’s disgusting “.

    Wounded psychologically, the military has also hurt physically during an attack, taliban-style. Jumping in an aircraft in order to save themselves from the enemy, the sergeant was thrown to the ceiling during the take-off, which has caused two herniated discs unbearable ten years later.

    “I am no longer able to stand or sit more than 15 minutes. It is like a knife that I plant in the lower back “, he explains.

    But the “machine” Charbonneau had nothing to do at the time, and despite the night terrors, day-to-day and his injuries, he left for the war in 2009.

    Pay the price

    “I was walking around for a long time my post-traumatic shock, but I was hiding behind a smile. Me, I was going all the time though, I was a Superman, ” said the one who came out of the forces in 2017. Today disabled at only age 41, Stéphane Charbonneau is asking a lot of questions about his future.

    “I am no longer functional. I’m going to do what in life ? I’m not even able to go in public because I have anxiety and I have panic attacks.”, he says. “To see the other side of the coin and where is rendered my life at 41 years of age, it’s not worth the trouble “, slice the ret.

    Death at a few days of retirement

    Section imagerie Valcartier

    Master warrant officer Hani Massouh


    If the bombs placed by the taliban have caused the most deaths, the dangers were many in Afghanistan.

    Mwo Hani Massouh and a brother in arms died when their armoured vehicle flipped over on a road crumbly.

    The accident occurred at the end of the mission as he finished his career. “We said it’s going to pass through and after it is finished… but the 6 of January it has fallen. It is hard, ” said his brother Selim Massouh.

    The military in quebec to Kandahar :

    Task Force 307 (3rd rotation in canada in 2007)

    • From July 2007 to February 2008
    • 2330 military Quebec
    • 170 military members from elsewhere in Canada
    • 10 death of the Royal 22e regiment

    Task Force 109 (1st rotation canadian in 2009)

    • 1640 military Quebec
    • 1110 military elsewhere in Canada
    • 13 death (rotation of 22nd in 2009)

    Canada in Afghanistan :

    • The beginning of the canadian mission in Afghanistan : January 2002
    • July 1, 2011 : End of the combat mission, only to be replaced by a mission of training the afghan police.
    • 18 march 2014 : the complete Withdrawal of canadian Forces from Afghanistan
    • Estimate of the cost of the mission for Canada : 11.3 billion $ (2009)
    • 158 military personnel who died during the mission. (138) when fighting
    • 635 injured (84 in 2007)