Images of the fall of Afghanistan have appeared on our screens and have been in news reports for weeks now as the United States pulled the rest of the forces out of the country.
A country where Canadian soldiers served and fought alongside them for over a decade, a country where 158 of our own were lost.
The Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lawrence MacAulay, penned the letter below to organizations who support veterans. In it he shares concerns as well as his gratitude for the work they do.
These past few weeks have been incredibly difficult for our Veteran community. With the Taliban’s rapid advance across Afghanistan, it appears that the entire country could soon be under their control.
Given all it represents to so many of our Afghan Veterans, the fall of Kandahar will surely be particularly challenging. Having never worn the uniform, I know I will never be able to understand what so many of those who served there are grappling with.
As Minister, though, I want to provide some resources that I hope might be of use for those of you – and to those you serve – who might understandably be struggling with the situation in Afghanistan.
At Veterans Affairs, please know that the VAC Assistance Service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Veterans, former RCMP members, families, and caregivers can call to speak with a mental health professional, free of charge, at 1-800-268-7708 (TDD/TTY: 1-800-567-5803.)
For those still serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, support is available to members and their families at each Canadian Forces Health Services centre across the country.
The Member Assistance Program also offers 24/7 confidential short-term counselling to members and their families, and can be reached at
1-800-268-7708 (TDD 1-800-567-5803.)
Some additional information on mental health resources can also be found through the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada.
Because of what Canadians achieved in Afghanistan, lives have been changed, unquestionably, for the better. There are children who received medicine that allowed them to reach their teens when they otherwise wouldn’t have. There are now young women studying law, physics, and journalism at some of the world’s finest universities who would never have gotten that opportunity.
Time will tell us what those stories mean, but I choose to believe that the world will be better for them.
However this chapter in Afghanistan’s history ends, Canada will not forget the actions of the more than 40,000 of our remarkable men and women who served there – the stories of their sacrifice will outlast them.
Our kids and grandkids are going to learn about the Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the streets and poppy fields of Kandahar, just like they will about the ones who fought and gave their lives at Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach.
Their wars might be different, but their stories are fundamentally the same. They went off to serve their country, and they did all that was asked of them and more.
How our Afghanistan Veterans and their families will come to understand their sacrifices is surely not for me to say, but I can promise that Canada will remain forever grateful for their service.
Please take care, and thank you for the work you all continue to do in support of our Veterans and their families.
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
SaultOnline, ONNTV and our whole organization at Superior Media share our gratitude for these organizations and our convey our deepest sympathy’s to those who are struggling with this news.