CANADA’S PRIORITIES IN AFGHANISTAN


Anna Mehler Paperny of the Globe & Mail charts what Canada set out to do in Afghanistan at the outset of its military mission in 2002 and what it has actually accomplished.

Training/mentoring Afghan National Security Forces
Goal: Increased capacity of both Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police in Kandahar by 2011 Progress: Both army and police are taking on greater roles, with Canada providing some of their training. But critics have voiced concerns about continuing allegations of torture or abuse of power.

Basic services
Goal: Ability of Kandahar’s administration to provide basic services to “key districts” of the province by 2011.
Progress: Five of the 50 schools in Canada’s “signature” school-building project are complete, and 28 are under construction. Surveys this spring indicated residents are less satisfied with the education available. Rehabilitation of the Dahla Dam, another signature Canadian project, continues.

Humanitarian assistance
Goal: Make humanitarian assistance available for Afghan refugees, returnees and for internally displaced persons by 2011.
Progress: Canada has continued its signature polio vaccination project, but new cases continue to be reported – eight during the second quarter of this year. The report states the insurgency as well as an increasing number of cases in Pakistan, are impeding the eradication program. Canada is also clearing land mines and contributing to food and refugee aid through the UN and the World Food Program.

Border security and dialogue
Goal: A stronger capacity on the part of Afghan and Pakistani institutions to manage their border and foster economic development in the border area.
Progress: A trilateral Washington summit was held this spring between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States. Canada is assisting in plans for a new border facility in Spin Boldak.

Democratic development and national institutions
Goal: Increased capacity on the part of national, provincial and local institutions, particularly in Kandahar province, to govern democratically, deliver public programs and carry out democratic elections.
Progress: The report released yesterday calls Afghanistan’s government capacity “chronically weak and undermined by widespread corruption.” There was widespread intimidation and threats of violence leading up to the national election last month, whose results have been called into question based on allegations of pervasive fraud.

Political reconciliation
Goal: Encouragement of political reconciliation on the part of provincial and national Afghan government initiatives, supported by Canada.
Progress: “The onset of the summer fighting season and the concentration of politicians and activists on the August elections discouraged expectations of noteworthy initiatives in reconciliation,” the report notes.

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About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
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