Retired RCMP Superintendent William C. Malone recalls his year in Afghanistan in his 2018 tell-all book
In his 2018 book Cops in Kabul: A Newfoundland Peacekeeper in Afghanistan, retired RCMP Superintendent William C. Malone gives a thrilling personal account of his time in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was stationed for a year.
Helping to Rebuild
Malone was one of many Canadians in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014, on a peacekeeping mission as part of a NATO coalition.
Nearly 300 Canadian police officers headed to the war-torn country throughout those 11 years, to train, mentor, and build up the Afghan National Police Force, also helping rebuild the country, creating a safe, stable, democratic and self-sufficient society.
Cops in Kabul is the story of just one of the many brave Canadians who put their North American lives on hold to bring about change in a faraway foreign land.
Malone told The Herald about his writing process, starting with the conversations that transpired into him penning his first book.
“When I came back from Afghanistan in June of 2012, I was talking to friends and acquaintances, and when I told them I was in Afghanistan, they kind of looked at me and said, ‘Really?’ There weren’t many people outside of the policing and military world that knew that there were almost 300 Canadian police officers who volunteered to go to Afghanistan to train the Afghan National Police throughout the duration of the 11-year campaign in Afghanistan,” Malone said.
Aiming to Inspire
“I thought to myself, the military gets lots of kudos and credit – and they deserve every bit of it for the work they did there,” he interjected, “but we’re kind of delegated to a footnote in history,” he said of the involvement of Canadian police.
Malone decided to try to “remedy that,” by putting pen to paper. He hopes that his book will inspire some of his colleagues to tell their stories.
Cops in Kabul: A Newfoundland Peacekeeper in Afghanistan was released in August 2018 through Flanker Press.
Malone explained that writing the book triggered a floodgate of memories, some easier to put into words than others.
“It’s not a story of blood, guts and gore war story – It’s talking about a bunch of Canadian police officers from multiple agencies from across the country … and some of the things that we did, through my point of view.”
He described the writing process as “cathartic,” noting the importance of highlighting the many good deeds that were done during his time abroad.
Malone drew on his experience of writing “hundreds and hundreds of search warrants,” and approached the subject matter sequentially, telling his stories in chronological order.
“The sights, the sounds, the smells … I remember the first complex attack that happened in Kabul. We were hunkered down at the Embassy for quite a while. That feeling, hearing explosions nearby, bullets flying overhead … You think to yourself, ‘You’re not on George Street anymore,’” he said with a laugh.
Throughout the book, Malone speaks of the constant threats of violence, as well as seismic activity, pollution, lack of sewage treatment and more.
Wishing for Peace
Though Malone is back in Canada with his family, far away from the conflict, he continues to wish for peace in Afghanistan. Despite his time in the country, he’s not sure how peace can be accomplished, but he has some ideas.
He explained the need to “build up institutions, provide jobs, economic development and education,” noting that an educated society can solve their own problems, without the help of foreign agencies.
Malone hopes that the book will help people understand both the complexities of the situation in Afghanistan, and the hard work put in by many brave Canadian volunteer peacekeepers and military.
The 14-chapter book, which boasts an epilogue, suggested readings, multiple indexes and colour photos, tells of the darkest nights and the brightest days, dotted with both harsh doses of reality and lighthearted humorous anecdotes.
His closing statements reflected on his time in Afghanistan by showing his appreciation for his life in Canada.
“It gives you a whole new perspective on life, and all the things that we have a great deal to be thankful for here in this country,” he shared.
“We live in the best country in the world and we’re very blessed to live where we live, to have what we have. Yes, we have our difficulties and struggles, but we have mechanisms to deal with them… Can we do better? Of course, we can do better. But we are very, very fortunate,” Malone said.
“If all we’ve got to complain here about it is the weather, we’re doing alright.”