December 20, 2008

Canadian troops in Afghanistan buy 30 donkeys

CANADA - It has come down to this... Canadian troops in Afghanistan are currently looking to buy 30 donkeys to carry their water/supplies around with them. The Canadian Forces already have tanks, armoured vehicles and helicopters at their command in their battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan... so why not add donkeys to the list?

The terrain is one of the major challenges facing Canadian and coalition troops in Afghanistan. There are mountains, irrigation canals, grape fields, mud walls around compounds, and wadis - a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain.

Roadways can be limited and narrow, meaning the Taliban can easily place improvised explosive devices that can prove deadly to vehicles carrying Canadian and Afghan soldiers.

The other problem is the heat during the summer months. The temperature can hit the 50s, even 60s, causing vehicles to overheat and become useless.

Hence the Donkey Corps. The Americans studied the use of camels, dogs and mules - but the donkey came out on top of the ratings, being best suited for the climate and the physical requirements.

The Donkey Corps program will involve the purchase of up to 30 "specially trained" donkeys, which will be used as pack animals to deliver critical supplies like water and ammo in places where you can't easily get to by any mechanized or aviation means.

A unit of Afghan soldiers, along with Canadian mentors will be in charge of deploying the donkeys in the Summer of 2009.

Canadian troops have used donkeys before, but not since northern Sicily in the Second World War.

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