Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Canada in Afghanistan

Another short follow up today. Much speculation and confusion about Canada's role in Afghanistan after it pulls out most of its troops in 2011. The latest news suggests hat the role is to be more minimal that I had expected. The CA military will train Afghans but only on protected bases. This would be the end of CA OMLTS (omletes), which would be too bad, since these are high priority efforts towards creating a competent Afghan National Army at some risk.

And the numbers the spokesman is referring to suggests that any development done in Kandahar by the Provincial Reconstruction Team is going to have to rely on American troops or those from elsewhere--not Canadians. And that would be most problematic since the PRT might not be a priority, and so the Canadian diplomats and aid types may not be able to leave the base if there are no spare Americans/others available on any given day.

So, this is looking more and more like a token Canadian flag in Kandahar but no real effort at development/governance once the troops go home despite some grand plans. While one can debate how ISAF should go forward, we ought to be clear about what will and will not be happening post-2011. Of course, it could change after the next election, but we are unlikely to see a majority government here anytime in the near future.

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