Monday, February 12, 2007

AlJazeera reports Canada considers Afghan pullout, and mentions Jack!

Canada considers Afghan pullout
FEBRUARY 13, 2007 / AlJazeera

A Canadian special senate committee report has said that Canadian troops supporting Nato's mission in Afghanistan could be withdrawn if the alliance's members do not offer more support.

The report, published on Monday, follows on from the committee's recent review of Nato's progress in Afghanistan over the past year.

"Canada and Nato must deploy resources in Afghanistan and use those resources in a better way than we have done to this point," the report said.

"If this proves impossible, Canada should be prepared to consider withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan as soon as our current commitment ends."

Canada has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. They are due to be based in the city of Kandahar until early 2009.

Government commitment

Nato forces in Afghanistan are trying to defeat a resurgent Taliban while also tackling the country's a booming poppy trade, ending endemic corruption and repairing damaged infrastructure.

Since the US-led invasion in 2001, 44 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have been killed.

"Where Canada is trying to have its biggest impact - in Kandahar - life is clearly more perilous because we are there" Extract from the Canadian special senate committee report

"Anyone expecting to see the emergence in Afghanistan within the next several decades of a recognisable modern democracy capable of delivering justice and amenities to its people is dreaming in Technicolor," said the senate committee report.

It also called on Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, to present Nato with a "comprehensive, transparent and effective plan" to reduce alleged corruption within the government, military and police.

Dan Dugas, a spokesman for Peter MacKay, the Canadian foreign minister, said Canada was committed to Afghanistan, adding that Nato defence ministers discussed the mission in Spain last week.

He said: "The meetings were very positive and successful, and there is a general optimism toward Afghanistan. The United States, Britain and the Polish have also all agreed recently to send more troops to Afghanistan."

Civilians threatened

The report said the presence of Canadian troops fighting the Taliban has made things worse for the civilian population.

"Where Canada is trying to have its biggest impact - in Kandahar - life is clearly more perilous because we are there."

The report also said Canada should boost its development aid to Kandahar and send a further 250 military instructors to train Afghan troops.

Jack Layton, leader of the left-leaning New Democrats, said the report boosted his belief that the mission was too focused on fighting rather than development aid.

He said: "The more people that look at what's happening in Afghanistan, the more concerns there are about the nature of the mission, the likelihood of its success."


candu said...

What nobody seems to talk about is why we are there. Aside from helping Bush control territory to build pipelines, they want to put in place a western style democracy, while totally ignoring the locals' wishes. They want to impose a market economy, with banks, police, armies a country that has absolutely no use for this. The country is 20% nomadic, 80% are sustenance farmers. The warlord or bigger tribal chiefs have the rest of the lands and grow poppies because that makes the most money and requires minimum work or investment. The climate is not suitable for much else. Their lifestyle has been around for millenia and the tribal system is both durable and suited for the circumstances. Western ideas about individual rights in tribal societies is nonsnse; the only reason they survive is because they need it to be a group effort. 60% of the people have no electricity, 80% has no running water. 70% is illiterate and they trade and haggle and do not use banks. There aren't any. There are no roads, just tracks, (one modern Highway from Kandahar to Kabul), no infrastructure, no utilities, no government programs or for that matter a central government. Tribes are self-sufficient and autonomous. They meet once a year at the Loya Jirga council of elders, where they meet, discuss common concerns and after everyone goes home to do their own thing. They do not need police; each tribe is run by a council of elders who run all the daily affairs of the tribe. Tradition is law and everbody knows it. They don't need an army; each Afghani is a warrior from birth. They do not have jobs as such and do not require any. They have Sharia law that says you cannot charge interest on loans and we want to give them credit card with 30% interest? A predatory Banking system like ours? We want them to be like us? What for? Going there telling them that their culture is useless, backwards and we don't like it and expect them to accept our ways because we are better is the height of contempt. They fight us because we do not respect them and want to force them to accept our materialistic ways. Are we so stupid not to see that there is no way the Afghanis will accept us. Currently the whole country is against the illegal occupation and they are unforgivingly angry at us for killing so many of their civilians and family members. They have laws of revenge; if you kill a member of a tribe, all the males have to avenge that death. It is never forgotten or forgiven unless blood money is paid for each casualty. You can be sure we do not pay or remotely understand their way of life. This is not a religious war, we want to destroy their identity and traditions. You think we can win this? The Harper government is dreaming in technicolor and will waste billions to kill innocents. Canada must do better.