Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who has apologized for a “mistake” he did when he described himself as the architect of Operation Medusa, also provided what seems to be contradictory versions about another role he played in Afghanistan.
In an interview with John Ivison from National Post (October 18, 2015), Sajjan said that he used his techniques in dealing with organized crime groups in Vancouver to build rapport with Afghans, a relationship that yielded crucial intelligence on the Taliban’s defensive positions.
Speaking at the Ottawa Forum on January 29, 2016, Sajjan said that that he used his techniques in dealing with organized crime groups in Vancouver to build rapport with Afghans, a relationship that peacefully stopped the terrorist attacks near Kandahar airfield.
Sajjan’s interview with National Post (October 18, 2015):
He [Harjit Sajjan] said the goal was to pull young people out of gangs, so that they didn’t become familiar faces later as members of organized crime groups. “I fundamentally disagree with Harper just focusing on being tough on crime. We have to prevent our kids being sucked into that world,” he said. He took the techniques he learned in Vancouver to Afghanistan to fight recruitment to the Taliban. He said a small team of Canadian soldiers built a rapport with locals, a relationship that yielded crucial intelligence on the Taliban’s defensive positions. Such was the success of Sajjan’s initiative, he was asked to re-deploy as an adviser to the Americans, as they sought to learn his technique, even though the U.S. military does not allow turban-wearing Sikhs to serve in combat roles.
Sajjan’s speech at the Ottawa Forum (January 29, 2016):
Early in 2006, a sergeant came up to me and said: there are ambushes along the highway, and he said, he’s intersection commander from PPCLI [Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry], he goes: We’ve been trying to send troops in there and it’s not working, bringing ambushes all way from Kandahar airfield and into the city. It was daily. It was quite rough. RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] coming in. We sent companies, snipers, nothing’s working. And he goes: there’s a used car lot that’s close by and the cars get damaged. Maybe we can go in and build some rapport and have a conversation. I heard you did some policing work. Can you guide us how to do this? I said: Of course, let’s go. So he didn’t know the type of work that I was doing, so I went with him and he led the conversation, and me in there he started this conversation of trying to build rapport and through that what we realized was [that] the owner of the car lot was cousin with a very influential person. So when now I was working on security checkpoints, police checkpoints along the way, and we put one close to the car lot, and I said: go back to him, and he said: you talk to your superiors who talk to the general, and he said: we were worried about the cars that are being damaged and putting a security checkpoint right here. What we did was we by putting a security check point was to be able to build rapport with the influential person who had control of the area, and literally, and this is not an exaggeration, with some other subtle conversations with a wave of a hand, ambushes were stopped overnight, and this is no exaggeration whatsoever.
Sajjan reveals how peacefully he stopped terrorist attacks near Kandahar airfield – click HERE
Sajjan: “I made a mistake in describing my role” in Operation Medusa – click HERE