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Former N.L. RCMP officer pens book on how Canadian peacekeepers made their mark in Afghanistan

Bill Malone at work in his office as the deputy Canadian police commander in Kabul, Afghanistan. — Flanker Press
Bill Malone at work in his office as the deputy Canadian police commander in Kabul, Afghanistan. — Flanker Press - Contributed

'Cops in Kabul: A Newfoundland Peacekeeper in Afghanistan' to be launched this week

Bill Malone has always wanted to help others.

His career choice proves that.

Malone, a retired superintendent with the RCMP, continued his path of helping after 25 years with the RCMP when he took on the task of training police officers in Afghanistan.

The experience created a host of memories, but never in his wildest dreams did he think it would lead to him becoming an author.

His book, “Cops in Kabul: A Newfoundland Peacekeeper in Afghanistan” will be launched Wednesday at Chapters in St. John’s.

“When I came back from Afghanistan in 2012 I had no intention of writing a book,’’ he told The Telegram recently. “I had done talks to groups about the police contributions to the Afghan mission. It was something few people knew anything about.” 

A young Afghan child looks up at the camera, one of a countless number of children Bill Malone encountered during his time as the deputy Canadian police commander in Kabul. — Flanker Press
A young Afghan child looks up at the camera, one of a countless number of children Bill Malone encountered during his time as the deputy Canadian police commander in Kabul. — Flanker Press

Malone said most people in this country knew about the great work Canada’s military did in helping the people of Afghanistan, but less known was the effort made by a host of police officers from across Canada in training the Afghan National Police Force.

“I didn’t want those efforts to be relegated to a footnote in history,’’ he said.

“So I sat down, started to make some notes of my time there and it grew into this book,’’ he added.

“Cops in Kabul” is the personal account of retired RCMP Supt. William C. Malone, who was the deputy Canadian police commander in Kabul, Afghanistan, from May 2011 to May 2012.

The book has been described as his serious and sometimes hilarious account of working with military personnel, diplomats and civil society organizations and the highlights and challenges of trying to bring about security and the rule of law in a theatre of war.

From 2003 to 2014, Canada played an integral role as part of the NATO coalition in Afghanistan. The Government of Canada sent its military and diplomats to that war-torn country to help bring about peace.

A little-known fact about Canada’s contribution during the 11-year conflict was the presence of approximately 300 Canadian police from across the country who volunteered to help train, mentor and build the capacity of the Afghan National Police.

Canada’s mission was to help Afghans rebuild their country as a stable, democratic, and self-sufficient society. Canada, along with dozens of other nations and international organizations, was engaged at the request of the democratically elected Afghan government to work within the United Nations–mandated and NATO-led mission in the Central Asian nation.

How the work progressed

This one-year snapshot takes a fascinating look at the bravery demonstrated by Canadian peacekeepers in a volatile and dangerous place.

“After 9-11, I was working in Northern New Brunswick. Like the rest of the world I was watching this unfold while I was in the midst of the lobster wars in Burnt Church,’’ Malone said. 

Retired RCMP Superintendent William C. Malone (centre) and the many members of the Canadian Civilian Police contingent in Kabul gathered for a photo. — Flanker Press
Retired RCMP Superintendent William C. Malone (centre) and the many members of the Canadian Civilian Police contingent in Kabul gathered for a photo. — Flanker Press

“I never in my life thought I would later be at the epicentre of where (Osama) bin Laden had his training grounds,’’ he added.
But there he was, and as he had done during his policing career, he was ready, willing and able to try to make a difference for the people of Afghanistan.
He said the folks who made the trips to Afghanistan made a huge difference while they were there.

“The programs in Afghanistan had to be looked at differently in that region than in other areas of the world. This progress had to be measured in inches,’’ he said.

“Just one misstep and it could push you back a mile, so our approach had to different.”

Malone said the year went by very quickly. Before he knew it, his mission had been completed and he was headed home, proud of the knowledge that he and the 300 Canadians made a difference.

“I think we left the country better than the way we found it,’’ he said.

“We used the things we knew worked for us and gave them that information. It was their country and they are responsible for it. We showed them what works for us in Canada and hopefully they could take that and Afghanize it,’’ he added.

A storied career
Malone was born in the central Newfoundland town of Buchans and grew up in Mount Pearl.

A mainstay of the military the past two decades has been its annual Hockey Night in Kandahar event held in conjunction with and the soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and former NHLers who made the trek halfway around the world to help entertain our military. — Flanker Press
A mainstay of the military the past two decades has been its annual Hockey Night in Kandahar event held in conjunction with and the soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and former NHLers who made the trek halfway around the world to help entertain our military. — Flanker Press

He is married to Nola Noseworthy and resides in St. John’s with their four daughters.

Malone graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., in 1987 with a bachelor of business administration degree. In 1988, he joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and served in the provinces of New Brunswick, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador before retiring in January of 2015.

During his tenure in the RCMP, he worked in the areas of organized crime, national security, proceeds of crime, counterterrorism, and international peacekeeping.

He also represented Canada as a law-enforcement expert with the Financial Action Task Force, the Asia Pacific Group, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and the World Bank.

Throughout his career in policing, he received a number of honours and recognition including: Operational Service Medal Expedition — Africa; RCMP 25-Year Long Service Medal; Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal; Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal; Operational Service Medal Southwest Asia — Afghanistan; UN Mission in Haiti and the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal.

In April of 2016, he began work with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as an anti–money laundering expert to help mentor and train law enforcement and judicial authorities in Southern Africa to combat wildlife and environmental crime on the African continent.

In 2018, after two years with the UNODC, Malone began working with Verafin as an anti–money laundering, financial crime industry expert.

samuel.mcneish@thetelegram.com

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