“The government, however, is considering many options for continuing to help the Afghan population — including security, which would undoubtedly involve an unspecified number of soldiers, said Defence Minister Peter MacKay.
“It involves securing, but working to develop the countryside, working to invest in infrastructure,” said MacKay.
“Working to help build capacity, immunizing children, educating children, building democratic institutions — all of which Canada is involved in now.”
Much of that development, medical aid and reconstruction work falls to Canada’s provincial reconstruction team, or PRT, based in Kandahar.
When specifically asked Tuesday whether Canada’s PRT would remain in the volatile region, MacKay would not rule it out.
“We’re considering a number of options,” MacKay said after being questioned by reporters about the PRT.”
(Canadian Press version here.)
Let’s see, now. If Canada wants to follow the letter of the 18 Mar 08 motion passed in the House of Commons, there cannot be any Canadian troops left in Kandahar by the end of 2011, so if the PRT stays, it can’t be with Canadian soldiers.
If Canada wants to keep some troops securing development or aid projects, and still follow the March 2008 motion, then those troops will have to be stationed outside Kandahar province.
Also, someone better get started on extending this program if Canada expects any kind of help from Afghans who would be at risk for helping.
More, as it comes in…