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Operation Athena is the Canadian Forces contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.


Operation Athena was a two phase Canadian Forces mission. During phase one, the mission consisted of peace-support activities in Kabul, where the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was concerned with ensuring security while the nascent government of Afghanistan developed its constitution and held its first elections.[1] During phase two, Operation Athena moved to Kandahar Province.[1]

Phase one

Operation Athena began on 17 July 2003 with the installation of Brigadier-General Peter Devlin as commander of the ISAF's Kabul Multi-National Brigade. Two days later, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment began deploying as the first rotation of Task Force Kabul.[1] The operation evolved into a 1,900 personnel task force which provided assistance to civilian infrastructure such as well-digging and repair of local buildings.[1] ISAF's primary objective in 2004 was ensuring the safe conduct of Afghanistan's first democratic election, which was held on 9 October 2004. Hamid Karzai was declared the winner, and on 9 December 2004 he was inaugurated President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Phase one of Operation Athena ended in July 2005.[1]

Phase two

In 2005, ISAF began to extend its operations beyond Kabul to support the development and growth of Afghanistan's governmental institutions, especially its national security forces. In August 2005, the second phase of Operation Athena began with the Canadian Forces assuming command of Kandahar Province from a United States Army task force deployed under Operation Enduring Freedom.[1]

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