Monday, March 20, 2006


Sally Armstrong's piece in today's Globe & Mail articulates a good reason to be in Afghanistan [Globe & Mail, We've forgotten why we're really in Afghanistan, via Google]:

The assumption that the international community invaded [Afghanistan] in 2001 to rescue the people is wrong. Coalition forces entered Afghanistan to find Osama bin Laden and dismantle the Taliban. The cameras that followed them happened to trip over burka-clad women, the highest infant mortality rate in the world, the lowest life expectancy and a human-rights catastrophe. Consequently, in November of 2001, Canada and others agreed in Bonn to repair Afghanistan's infrastructure, reform its judiciary, restore the rights of women and girls, and establish security.
Further on:

But just like ants attracted to fresh sources of food, the Taliban and their al-Qaeda cohorts have crawled back out of the woodwork to chew on the underbelly of the Canadian military resolve. In the process, the programs for those who were supposed to be rescued have fallen off the radar screen. The women and girls who paid the biggest price under the Taliban risk being sidelined once again. Their concerns -- education, health, the brutal treatment they are subjected to -- are being lost while budgets and time lines are refocused on the insurgents.

The Bonn agreement cannot be fulfilled without the military there to provide security. But security is only one of the parts that will make Afghanistan whole. Canadians have done impressive work to deliver the promises made in Bonn.

Sally's piece says two things and in all the discussion about Afghanistan, sometimes we forget one when arguing against the other.

  • Canada has made a committment to bring social justice to Afghanistan.
  • Canadian troops provide security.

Simply put, Canada cannot deliver on its commitment to help rebuild in Afghanistan without a troop complement of some kind. Some argue that the role of our troops has changed - that it's no longer about rebuilding Afghanistan, that it is about rooting out terrorists and insurgents.

I don't think anyone is arguing against Canada's role in rebuilding Afghanistan.

Well, to me, you can't have a rebuilt Afghanistan as long as there are those within who seek to undo it. We can pull out, and hope that Afghanistan is rebuilt by somebody else, or we can maintain a presence and ensure it's done right.

Updated: Whoops. This published before it was finished. I wanted to conclude that it's important that at the same time as we're attempting to make Afghanistan more secure we cannot let the rebuilding stop.

While in the initial stages of rebuilding, the infrastructure is vulnerable. If however, you show Afghanistan what social justice means (and some have seen it), those who would seek to dismantle it will become weaker.

Updated x 2: Forgot the G&M links.

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Anonymous said...

KABUL -- An Afghan who allegedly converted from Islam to Christianity is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death, a judge said yesterday.

Abdul Rahman was arrested last month after his family went to the police and accused him of becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada said.

Such a conversion violates the country's Islamic laws.

Rahman, believed to be 41, was charged with rejecting Islam when his trial started last week, the judge said.

During the hearing, the defendant allegedly confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago when he was 25 and working as a medical aid worker for Afghan refugees in Pakistan, Mawlavezada said.

Afghanistan's constitution is based on Shariah law, which states that any Muslim who rejects his religion should be sentenced to death.

"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said.

"It is an attack on Islam ... The prosecutor is asking for the death penalty."

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said the case was the first of its kind in Afghanistan.

He said that he had offered to drop the charges if Rahman changed his religion back to Islam, but the defendant refused.

Mawlavezada said he would rule on the case within two months.

Afghanistan is a deeply conservative society and 99% of its 28 million people are Muslim.

Is this what we're fighing for.?
Mr Harper

Jim (Progressive Right) said...

So, are you arguing for the rebuild or against it?