AFGHANISTAN: A GLIMPSE OF WAR
The ongoing war in Afghanistan is the largest and among the most significant and dangerous combat
operations undertaken by Canada since the Korean War. In October 2001, the Canadian government decided
to join a United States-led multinational coalition to overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan,
which had sheltered and supported Osama Bin Laden and the al-Qaida terrorist organization that
planned and carried out the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
After the fall of the Taliban, the Canadian mission in Afghanistan shifted to providing security
and support for the country’s new government. Under the aegis of the United Nations-mandated, North
Atlantic Treaty Organization-led International Security Assistance Force, Canada has assisted the
Afghan government to rebuild Afghanistan’s system of government, education, and security forces.
Canada’s commitment to send soldiers to Kandahar in 2005, paired with a renewed Taliban insurgency,
led to heavy fighting and Canadian casualties.
© Photo - Stephen Thorne/Canadian Press
This exhibition provides a glimpse at the unfinished history of this conflict as interpreted
by those who have lived it. The exhibition centres on the photographs and film of Canadian
journalists Stephen Thorne and Garth Pritchard, both of whom accompanied Canadian soldiers in
the field on several visits to Afghanistan from 2002 to 2008. They recorded deeply moving
personal stories, from combat operations to the struggle to rebuild Afghanistan, and the difficult,
dangerous conditions facing Canadian soldiers and Afghans in Kabul and Kandahar.
These compelling stories speak to the human experience of war, and are accompanied by a
selection of powerful and personal artifacts.
The material displayed in this exhibition is at once Canadian and international, foreign and
local, civilian and military.