Apr 08 2010
Trying very hard not to look a gift horse in the mouth, here. The Conservatives’ new commitment of 90 trainers for the Afghan National Army and police, bringing out total commitment to nearly 3000 personnel, is certainly welcome news. This is totally consistent with what is being asked for by Afghans, Afghan Canadians, analysts and others who just want to see that country’s positive metrics (personal freedoms, access to health care and education, sparks of economic development) keep going up in the face of a dedicated insurgency.
That said, why are these new trainers going to stick to what pretty well everyone agrees was a limited and fairly arbitrary deadline at the end of 2011? From my post on the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee blog:
The deadline MacKay and others refer to is the end of our formal support for the Canadian battlegroup’s presence in Kandahar (not necessarily, as some believe, a predetermined end for ALL military support for Afghanistan). Yet a scaled down mission more focused on training, consultation with NATO and the Afghan government and perhaps protection of our own humanitarian aid and development assistance personnel, ought not be lumped into the same pile. Deadlines are fine, but they ought to be informed by the actual situation on the ground, not determined on a whim.
An Overview of Canada’s Training Effort in Afghanistan