Ceasefire.ca, always against anything military Canada is doing or wants to do (except for “peacekeeping”), has a new online petition against the new mission in Afghanistan: “Tell Stephen Harper, other party leaders, and your own MP that you do not support the proposed training mission for the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. Send your letter, right away.” The web site allows you to personalize the letter to the government. I wonder how many people would dare personalize it to the point where it says they support the mission? As Yoda might say, quite funny that would be ….
The PM’s issued a statement following the NATO weekend conference in Lisbon, and (no surprise) Afghanistan came up: “…. Next year will mark the beginning of a new chapter in Afghanistan’s history. Over a transition period, between 2011 and 2014, Afghan forces will assume primary responsibility for the security of their country. As this transition proceeds, Canada will assist the Afghan people build a stronger future. After the combat mission ends next year, this assistance will be in the form of aid, development and military training, centred in Kabul. Leaders also re-iterated their deep respect for the contribution and enormous sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform, our development workers and our diplomats. These brave individuals continue to make Canada proud.”
He also had something to say to Afghan President Hamid Karzai: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday that he must reduce corruption or Canada will “not dispense a dime” directly to his government. Harper said Karzai expressed an expectation at the NATO summit in Lisbon that 50 per cent of the multibillion-dollar aid coming from donor countries go directly to his government instead of through the United Nations and other multilateral programs or non-government aid agencies. “In that case, our answer is very clear,” Harper said at a news conference. “We will not dispense a dime to the government of Afghanistan unless we are convinced that that money will be spent in the way that it’s intended to be spent.” ….” More on that from the Canadian Press here and from QMI/Sun Media here.
Karzai, meanwhile, is glad to see Canada stay & train: “Canada has been at the forefront of assistance to Afghanistan from the very beginning …. The Afghan people are extremely grateful for the Canadian contribution to the well-being of the Afghan people. Canada’s decision to continue to assist Afghanistan after they have ended their military mission is welcome and . . . we are very grateful for that.”
NATO’s newest position: “NATO has agreed to hand control of security in Afghanistan to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.” The Taliban’s response? You should leave sooner, not later (links to statement at Scribd.com): “The real solution of the Afghan issue lies in withdrawal of the foreign forces. Hence the NATO decision to start withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan in 2014 is an irrational decision because until then, various untoward and tragic events and battles will take place as a result of this meaningless, imposed and unwinning war. The bottom line for them is to immediately implement what they would ultimately have to implement though after colossal casualties. They should not postpone withdrawal of their forces even be it for one day.”
Coming up soon (or, according to one military expert, it should be): a Canadian space defence policy: “…. the man in charge of space development for the defence department predicts the initial steps of the next major conflict are more than likely to start in orbit and Canada should be prepared. There will “absolutely” be more of a military role for Canada in space than in the past, Col. Andre Dupuis said on Saturday as he discussed the defence department’s plans to overhaul its space defence policy. “The first line in the sand for the next major conflict may very well be in space or cyberspace, but probably not on the ground or in the air or in the seas,” Dupuis said in an interview while attending the annual conference of the Canadian Space Society ….”
Just a reminder that you don’t need to wear a uniform to make a difference in Afghanistan: “…. This hero read a newspaper article about an injustice at the age of 14 and instead of just fuming silently, she has now spent fully half of her 28 years on this planet battling to improve the peace and security of the world by building literacy and hope in a land where both were almost extinguished by the murderous, medieval Taliban government that came to power in Afghanistan in 1996. Her name is Lauryn Oates and she is one of the founders of the Calgary and Montreal chapters of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan). The PhD student in language and literacy education, who has been published numerous times on these pages in the Herald, has just returned from her 19th trip to Afghanistan. She tries hard to hide it, but anger flashes in her blue eyes when she talks about the cultural relativism she hears from too many westerners every time she speaks of the grassroots work she is doing in Afghanistan to help train teachers and help women in that troubled land build the civil infrastructure needed to enhance literacy, health care and democracy ….”