Canada Cuts Risk, Hardship Allowance for Soldiers in Afghanistan

A recent announcement has declared that Canadian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan will be facing a salary cut because their training mission is not as dangerous as their previous role of chasing insurgents. A rough assessment estimates that the reduction in allowances will cost soldiers in Kabul $508 a month, a move that will not be popular among Canadian soldiers. A soldier reported that “the bean counters are saying it’s not Kandahar,” while alleging that “we’re outside the wire and we risk getting hit by suicide bombers or shot at or rocket fire.”

The defence department stated that the move has come as part of an annual reassessment of hardship and risk allowances by the Treasury Board “based on significant input by deployed military personnel.” The decision is made by a review committee, based on intelligence and medical reports, that judged that the mission in Kabul is much less risky and had fewer hardships than the military’s lengthy time in Kandahar. The department notably denied any speculation implying that reductions were part of the government-wide cuts to cover the deficit.

The cut will effect almost 1,000 Canadian troops currently in Kabul that are helping in training Afghan security forces. Even though the mission has so far turned out to be relatively safer than Canada’s combat role in Kandahar, Kabul is still an extremely risky city where insurgent attacks take place almost every week. Additionally, another lot of almost 50 soldiers deployed on missions in the Middle East are also going to be affected by the reassessed allowances.

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