DEFENCE Minister Harjit Sajjan has been slammed for his “bald-faced lie” in his keynote address “Conflict Prevention and Peacekeeping in a Changing World” to Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi during his last week’s official visit to India.
In that address on April 18, he said: “On my first deployment to Kandahar in 2006, I was the architect of Operation MEDUSA where we removed 1,500 Taliban fighters off the battlefield…and I was proudly on the main assault.” He added: “I was recognized for my efforts.”
According to Wikipedia: “Operation Medusa (September 2–17, 2006) was a Canadian-led offensive during the second Battle of Panjwaii of the war in Afghanistan. The operation was fought primarily by the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group and other elements of the International Security Assistance Force … Its goal was to establish government control over an area of Kandahar Province centered in the district of Panjwayi some 30 kilometres (19 mi) west of Kandahar city. A tactical victory, it resulted in the deaths of 12 Canadian soldiers.”
A retired Canadian officer familiar with the planning done for Operation Medusa told the National Post that Sajjan’s claim was “a bald-faced lie.” Other officers too were angered by Sajjan’s claim.
Sajjan, who was a reservist major serving as a liaison officer with Task Force Kandahar at the time, was forced to admit in his apology for the false claim that Operation Medusa was “successful because of [the] leadership of General [David] Fraser [Canada’s task force commander and the International Security and Assistance (ISAF) commander for Regional Command South] and the extraordinary team with whom I had the honour of serving.”
In a statement on Thursday, Sajjan said: “What I should have said was that our military successes are the result of the leadership, service and sacrifice of the many dedicated women and men in the Canadian Forces. I regret that I didn’t say this then, but I want to do so now.”
He added: “Every military operation our Forces undertook in Afghanistan, including Operation Medusa, relied on the courage and dedication of many individuals across the Canadian Forces. My comments were in no way intended to diminish the role that my fellow soldiers and my superiors played in Op Medusa.”