Ottawa, June 23 : Former Canadian foreign minister John Manley who suggested the extension of his country's forces stay in Afghanistan, has blamed the Canadian military's slackness in intelligence-gathering for the devastating prison-break that freed nearly 400 Taliban insurgents on the evening of June 15.
The incident also demonstrated that the Taliban were capable of significant military actions, he said and added that the Canadian troops operating in Afghanistan should have a stronger intelligence network.
"I'm very dismayed. What it really speaks to is a breakdown in our intelligence. Getting information on something like that is really something we should be able to obtain," the globeanmail.com quoted John Manley as saying in a TV interview.
Manley said fighting an insurgency meant that it was critical to have an advanced intelligence-gathering capability, particularly when troops aren't meeting face to face on the battlefield in traditional combat. "What you really are thriving on is getting information. You've got to be able to stop things before they happen, so it's a breakdown in intelligence," he said.
It was Manley's panel that issued critical recommendations that Canada seek the involvement of 1000 more foreign soldiers before agreeing to extend its tour in Afghanistan by another two years.
He complimented his country's Prime Minister Stephen Harper for being candid in characterizing the break as a setback for Canada's plan to turn over security to Afghan forces three years from now. "I'd have to say that the Prime Minister handled that quite well. He was very forthcoming in saying, essentially, this is a very bad thing that happened. I'm not sure all of the spokesmen for the government were quite as forthcoming," he added.
Canadians will only back their soldiers' presence in Afghanistan if they're satisfied they're being told the truth, he said further.