Colin Smith introduced Col. Jamie Hammond, our guest speaker.  Col. Hammond was raised in Esquimalt and took Honors History from UVic and a Masters degree at Carlton University.  He spent 28 years in the Military, serving Bosnia and Afghanistan.  He currently is the Private Secretary to Her Honor the Lieutenant Governor, Judith Guichon which means he is also the Chief of Staff for Government House.  He has been very involved with Her Honor's Literacy Program and has worked with several Rotary Clubs in implementing the 9 libraries in small communities.


Col. Hammond spoke to us about Afghanistan.  He initially was in Afghanistan in 2002 in Special Ops and returned in 2010 to work at HQ, working on the transition to local police forces.

He is very proud of the work the Canadian forces have done in Afghanistan and they were a model for other forces for building community rather than creating more enemies.

The Afghanistan conflict is NOT about religion, it IS important and Afghanistan HAS been conquered in the past (i.e. Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great.

It has a population of somewhere between 25 and 31 million (there has been no census since 1971) spread across very difficult terrain.

Col. Hammond spent most of his time in Kandahar touring every police station in that district.  Often the police stations are in buildings that have been bombed; but, they are working anyway. It can be noted that roses were often planted outside the stations again as showing stability. The captain is usually the only literate officer; but, they are working on their literacy.

He explained that in the vacuum after the Russian war, initially the Taliban were local militia who brought about some stability in the countryside; but, eventually gaps were filled by thugs.  However, violence is not throughout the whole country and the majority of districts do not have any unusual violence.

He outlined some of the continuing challenges including the divided loyalties of the different tribes and the difficulties of trying to pull them all together into a 'country', especially as they view the borders as false borders arbitrarily drawn by the British after WW I.

However, there has been some good progress:

  1. In 2001, there were less than 3 Million children in school.  Today, there are 8.3 Million, including 3 Million girls.
  2. 27% of the parliament are women and they are well respected.
  3. The move towards democracy is continuing.

The ball is now in the court of the Afghanis; but, the west should continue to fund democratic initiatives and education.

Our WWII veteran, Jim Warr thanked the speaker.  He commented that Col. Hammond may be younger than him; but, he outranks him.