January 13, 2012
With special Thanks to Babur Mawladin and his team at CASC. May your dream for your home come true.
I decided to blog this document on behalf of a friend of mine from an online organization. Since global current events has always been important to me it was actually a no-brainer. (lol). I have always been fascinated by our own history, as Canadians, because all we, well I, have ever seen is news, reports and studies in American studies and exploits it has always been disheartening, considering our origin is exactly the same but the way we used the knowledge and tools given to us were exactly contrasted and we still have a trusted bond that has prevented a physical barrier being installed between our 2 countries. Understanding this, our media outlets & educational system has chosen to fail all Canadians as a whole, to shine up the US half of our relationship, the reasons are another issue so I will not deal with it here.
This partnership in North America required all 3 participants but only 2 came together. Today, here in Canada our history has been taught as a result of what happened in the US therefore a level of dependency has been implied when it comes to understanding who we are as Canadians. This has always been very inaccurate. The choices made at that point in time (mid 1700s) was the mind set of those involved, both roads were critical in each country’s growth and development allowing us to have our respective strengths and weaknesses as independent countries. The disappointment I have in our national media outlets and our Provincially controlled educational systems is why I blog and do my own research. Simply from the mass media we are not just mislead, we are lied to. Our educational system since the 80s has not been teaching our children the truth of who we are. It has allowed the development and growth of organizations like the Monk Institute, Janice Steine on the CBC’s National / At Issue panel stated about our military involvement in Afghanistan, we as Canadians have no direction when it comes to international affairs and are very much confused and are giving mixed signals internationally, her statement which the CBC obviously supports are insulting and designed to continue misinforming Canadians from a foundation of the University of Toronto. We have the Council of Canadians again taking information that is knowingly wrong, has been lamb-basting Canada, Canadians and our heritage in favour of Americana, and the heritage of the obviously failed state south of us. Most of our peace organization are still firmly grounded in the 60s peace movement reflecting their honest knowledge of current affairs and are muted as a result. Leaving just human rights groups like the BC Civil Liberties Organization. They are clearly (well since the election last election campaign, proved their position by supporting proven lies told by the National NDP and Liberal parties, don‘t mistake this as a pro-Conservative position, its not. Mr. Harper also proved himself to be an ineffective national leader). No, rather we need to start looking at the source information ourselves, and see the truth with our own eyes, there is nothing to translate, nothing to decode. All the information we have access to is open and plainly written showing up our educational system as weak and false as so our national media one of which our tax dollars goes to protect and keep afloat.
The recommendations coming, is a vision of an Afghan in Canada. He is from Mazur e-Sharif, where our military is now continuing the training of the Afghan National Army and Police (ANA & ANP). Yes, I said continuing since the first set of amendments to our mission in Afghanistan in 03 or 04 the training and mentoring the ANA & ANP was a priority, we have also had the most success in developing a Government supporting public defending force. Our trained Afghan troops are also battle ready and TESTED, since 2005. So without further adieu here is the recommendations presented to the Bonn Conference on the future of Afghanistan Bonn, Germany December, 2011. He is not alone. You decide.
Bonn Conference, CASC recommendations Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee http://afghanistan-canada-solidarity.org/ Monday, November 28, 2011
Recommendations for a Canadian leadership role at the Bonn Summit, December, 2011.
As we reflect on the outcome of the ten-year effort, we find growing insecurity, bad governance, a corrupt judiciary, official corruption, sabotage of political institutions such as parliament, inexperienced security organs, sluggish pace of economic development, lethargic rebuilding process and stalled political process. If there is one more chance, it will require that Afghans help the international community correctly diagnose the problem, so that at Bonn the international backers of Afghan democracy can pledge to aid real political reform. – Hussain Yasa, Editor-in-chief, Outlook Afghanistan.1
The international commitment to remain engaged after the withdrawal of ISAF forces is the political consequence of our common decision to engage ten years ago. That is why the International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn needs to credibly assure Afghans—and thus, the region—that they will not be abandoned again. – Michael Steiner, Germany’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, chair of the International Contact Group.2
Who We Are
The Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee (CASC) was established in the autumn months of 2007 to bring together Canadians from all walks of life who were committed to international and Canadian intervention in Afghanistan with the aim of ending the violence of all illegal armed groups, alleviating poverty, and supporting Afghan struggles for democracy, peace, justice, and stability. We support the UN-sanctioned ISAF mission, and we have fully supported the UN’s call for Canada’s continued military contribution to the Afghan cause for security, democracy and the rule of law.
1. Dr. Hussain Yasa, “2nd Bonn Conference: A Probable Last Chance to Rescue Afghanistan” posted August 24, 2011 on Daily Outlook Afghanistan http://outlookafghanistan.net/topics.php?post_id=1649
2. Michael Steiner, “The Consequence of Solidarity: Why Germany and the international community must not abandon Afghanistan after 2014” posted November 17, 2011 on IP Journal: German Council on Foreign Relations https://ip-journal.dgap.org/en/ip-journal/consequence-solidarity
3.Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee http://afghanistan-canada-solidarity.org/
Where We Stand
We insist that human rights are universal, not culture-specific, that women’s rights are human rights, and that the world should heed the demands of the Afghan people for a democratic and accountable government. We will persist in our call for Canadians to pay close attention to Afghan public opinion, which consistently reflects these demands. We will also persist in encouraging Canadians to inform themselves about Afghanistan, its people, culture, and its history, and we will lend our voices to those of the many Canadians who are committed to supporting humanitarian and development projects that meet the needs of the Afghan people.
The contents of this document are partly informed by CASC’s March 2010 report, “Keeping Our Promises – Canada in Afghanistan Post-2011: The Way Forward.” That report was aimed at providing recommendations for a Canadian rededication to Afghanistan following the July 2011 conclusion of the Canadian Forces’ “combat role” in Kandahar province. We were not displeased with the Government of Canada’s decision to reconfigure the Canadian Forces’ contributions to a training role, based mainly in Kabul. However, Canada (and the international community in general) has failed to adequately address the critically important work of democratic and constitutional reconstruction in Afghanistan, and this threatens to undermine all the accomplishments for which Canadians and Afghans have suffered over the past decade.
Our “Keeping Our Promises” report was based on consultations within the CASC membership, within the Afghan-Canadian community, the community of academic and expert opinion, and most importantly, we consulted across the spectrum of Afghanistan’s emerging civil society and Afghanistan’s political leadership. We directly canvassed more than 100 organizations, agencies and individuals. In Afghanistan, we consulted a cross-section of opinion, from former warlords to women’s rights organizations. This included interviewing opinion-makers, government officials, civil rights advocates, teachers, several MPs, journalists and power brokers. We also spoke with representatives of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and officials with NATO and other international community agencies. With a year and a half of hindsight, we are convinced that our recommendations were prescient, and the need for a Canadian rededication along the lines we proposed has grown more urgent.
Circumstances have radically changed since March, 2010. Some for the better. Some for the worse. Perhaps the most significant event to threaten the prospects for Afghanistan’s re-emergence as a sovereign and independent republic at peace with itself and its neighbours is the radical shift that has occurred in the United States’ policy under President Barrack Obama. State Department communiqués betray a fluid and sometimes contradictory overall approach. However, the new American policy appears to be a reversion to the same “We don’t do nation-building” posture that so encumbered the early years of American involvement in Afghanistan following September 11, 2011 – the posture that is in large measure the cause of the predicament Afghanistan finds itself in today.
The word “democracy” now only rarely appears in any American pronouncement about US objectives in Afghanistan. A US Department of Defense October 2011 statement of strategic goal is a case in point: “The goal of the United States is to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al Qaeda, and to prevent its return to either Afghanistan or Pakistan. The specific objectives in Afghanistan are to deny safe haven to al Qaeda and to deny the Taliban the ability to overthrow the Afghan Government. To support these objectives, U.S. and coalition forces will continue to degrade the Taliban insurgency in order to provide time and space to increase the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces and the Afghan Government so they can assume the lead for Afghanistan’s security by the end of 2014.”
Tragically, many NATO countries appear reluctant to challenge the new US administration’s narrow, wholly self-interested and short-sighted position. The new US strategy places no priority on the necessity of working with Afghans to ensure that accountable and effective state institutions replace mob rule, the way of the gun, warlord law and the fanatical “justice” of the Taliban throughout the country. Most informed observers recognize that it is the absence of accountable and competent state institutions that is most effectively fuelling the so-called “insurgency” in Afghanistan. The result is a vacuum, a state of affairs that invites Taliban terror, shadow-government subversion and proxy-war depredations fostered by the avowed and committed enemies of Afghan democracy in Tehran and Rawalpindi.
Canada is uniquely positioned to show leadership at the Bonn conference to staunch the hemorrhaging of the trust Afghans have placed in the international community, especially in the NATO countries and other democracies in the International Security Assistance Force alliance. At Bonn, Canada should work closely with Afghan civil society, especially with the Afghan women’s leadership, to ensure that the international community does not lose sight of the “Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan”, page 7, published October 2011 by the Department of Defense of the United States of America. http://www.defense.gov/pubs/pdfs/October_2011_Section_1230_Report.pdf the objective for which Canadian soldiers and their families have sustained such sacrifice and suffering.
Unlike any of the other leading contributors to the 47-nation ISAF coalition4 (the United States and Britain, for example) and unlike the key regional powers (Pakistan, Iran and China) Canada is understood to be unique. Among Afghans, Canada is known as a democracy with no history of foreign conquest, and particularly, no authorship of or involvement in the wars, imperialist adventures and proxy wars that tormented Afghanistan during the 19th century and especially in the latter half of the 20th century. Canada is trusted and well placed to play a particularly assertive role in the advance of democracy, security and human rights in Afghanistan. This is the cause for which Canadian soldiers have fought and the purpose to which the Canadian public has tolerated, as much as $18 billion of Canadian tax contributions since 2001.
Canada is exceptionally well suited to take on an aggressive role in support of self-reliant, Afghan-led institutions answerable to a fully accountable, transparent, and representative
Afghan government. Canada must be uncompromising in its insistence that the Afghan
government conducts all its affairs in accordance with democratic principles and international human rights norms. In its insistence upon an Afghan government that is democratically accountable to its people, Canada need not be concerned with trespassing upon Afghan sovereignty. The promise of Afghan democracy is a promise that Canada (and other democratic states) made to the Afghan people. 6 Canada’s commitment in Afghanistan amounts to a solemn promise that is not made merely to the current occupant of Afghanistan’s Presidential Palace, or to the current occupant of the American White House. Afghan sovereignty is the function of a triangular relationship between the Afghan people, the Afghan government, and the 4 Current as of November 26, 2011. ISAF NATO website, “Troop Numbers and contributions” http://www.isaf.nato.int/troop-numbers-and-contributions/index.php
5 “Fiscal Impact of the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan” page 8, October 9, 2008 report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page. http://www.parl.gc.ca/pboDPB/documents/Afghanistan_Fiscal_Impact_FINAL_E_WEB.PDF
6 “The Afghanistan Compact”, page 3, Building on Success: The London Conference on Afghanistan January31-1February 2006. http://unama.unmissions.org/Portals/UNAMA/Documents/AfghanistanCompact-English.pdf
Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee http://afghanistan-canada-solidarity.org/internationalcommunity
Afghan sovereignty consists of a complex suite of rights and obligations. In all of our engagements in Afghanistan, Canadians should be informed by this reality, and our government should act accordingly.
Recommendations for Canada’s Position at the Bonn Conference:
The way forward in Afghanistan is democracy: equal rights, the rule of law, a representative and accountable government, freedom of speech and assembly, a comprehensive and generous education, an entitlement to basic health services, and a fair chance at prosperity. There is no other way forward to peace and security in Afghanistan. So long as the international community allows Afghanistan’s neighbours to subvert Afghan sovereignty and democracy, there will be no peace or justice in Afghanistan, no matter how much or how little military effort is expended upon the fighting, degrading or containing the so-called Afghan “insurgency.”
1. Canada should actively oppose any initiative undertaken by any power (including the United States) under the auspices of “reconciliation” or “negotiation” with the Taliban or with any other armed groups involved in Afghanistan (including the Pakistani ISI) that do not fully engage the ISAF states, the Afghan parliament, Afghan civil society and women’s movement, and Afghan national minorities.
2. At the Bonn conference, Canada should take every opportunity to make space for the participation of Afghanistan’s parliamentary opposition and civil society, including representation from women from both of these groups.
3. Working with the Afghan parliament, Canada should lead and support a robust democratization initiative that includes the guarantee that by 2014, the Afghan Constitution has been subjected to a thorough review for the purpose of removing the constitution’s antidemocratic provisions, particularly the crippling centralization of political power in the presidential palace.
4. Working with Afghan parliamentarians, Canada should ensure that by 2014, Afghanistan’s absurd and unworkable single non-transferable vote electoral system is replaced by a rational and effective electoral law. Further, Canada should work with the major donor countries involved in Afghanistan to develop a clearer definition and determination of the breadth and scope of Afghan citizenship by way of a national census.
5. Canada’s military and police presence in Afghanistan should not be determined by any arbitrary 2014 end-date or by any American timetable, but rather by the objectives the training function is intended to accomplish. Further, the Canadian Forces should assist all branches of the Afghan security forces in developing their competence in the monitoring and enforcement of free and fair elections.
6. Canada’s role in assisting Afghanistan with its elections processes should be elevated to include an ambitious, long-term program of education and training aimed at all participants in the elections process – not just all relevant Afghan National Security Forces components but prospective candidates, their campaign teams, government officials at the national, provincial and district level, and the emerging political parties and coalitions. Voter education should be dramatically enhanced. Canada should actively recruit among Canadians with experience in running and monitoring elections to train and mentor their Afghan counterparts.
7. Canada should insist that for both practical reasons and for reasons of public trust, “Afghanization” of the elections process must not exclude the unencumbered engagement of internationally-appointed observers, monitors and overseers.
8. Afghanistan should be identified as a high priority for the on-again, off-again proposed Canadian democracy-promotion agency7 – an agency that should be established by consolidating the various efforts different Canadian institutions already make in this foreign policy field. An agency field office should be established in Kabul as soon as practicable. The Agency should play a leading role in a new Canadian mission in Afghanistan, with a focus on the entrenchment of democratic institutions, good governance, and democratic capacity-building.
9. Canada should directly fund broad-based Afghan institutions with mandates to promote the study of democracy and the dissemination of democratic ideas, to advance national unity and the administration of justice, to elevate the legal and social status of women, and to restore Afghanistan’s central place in the intellectual, cultural and economic life of Central Asia.
10. To strengthen the protection of women’s human rights, Canada should focus on supporting the enforcement of existing domestic laws and of international law to which Afghanistan is a party to protect women, through the gender rights sensitization and training of the Afghan 7 “Advisory Panel Report on the Creation of a Canadian Democracy Promotion Agency”, by Thomas S. Axworthy, Chair, The Honourable Pamela Wallin, Leslie Campbell, Éric Duhaime, November 2009. http://www.pcobcp. gc.ca/docs/information/publications/promotion/docs/promotioneng.pdf National Police and by advocating for and supporting the reform and expansion of the judiciary. This should include the removal of judges with no formal training in secular law, the expansion of the family courts, and a well-funded monitoring agency to better prevent the use of tribal and other informal legal prescriptions within the courts system that systematically harm women’s rights.
11. To build on the investment Canadians have made in Afghanistan over the years, a sharper focus on long-term results is required. A substantial and long-term Canadian commitment to all levels of Afghanistan’s education sector would allow Canada the leverage to control the quality of the “outputs,” force greater coordination among Afghanistan’s donor partners, ensure greater efficiency in program delivery, build administrative capacity in Afghanistan’s education ministry, and eliminate corrupt practices particularly rampant in this Ministry.
12. Canada should remain committed to key education projects initiated during Canada’s tenure at the helm of the Kandahar PRT, and enhance Canadian involvement in the development of Kandahar University, with an emphasis on women’s education and Canadian-Afghan academic partnerships.
13. Canada should aggressively foster and fund initiatives in the recovery of Afghanistan’s cultural patrimony and its literary canon, the development of a vibrant Afghan publishing industry, and the cross-translation of works in English, French, Dari and Pashto. Canada should directly invest in the national public library, a network of provincial and regional libraries, village libraries and mobile libraries for remote rural areas.
14. Canada should further enhance Afghanistan’s intellectual, academic, trades and technical capacities by fostering partnerships between Canadian and Afghan universities and institutions, and by investing in scholarships, academic exchanges, civil-service exchanges, and a range of vocational and skills-transfer programs.
Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee Babur Mawladin – President firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Mann – Secretary email@example.com
Even though the Bonn Conference is over if Canadians won’t take the reigns of what we chose to aid in the process to help Afghan regain control of their country from a more insidious outside forces wishing control. This, at the very least should be to acquire the basic information we are currently being denied, about who we are in this global community.
I just don’t get it. This is the view of Canada from an Afghan/Canadian of whom I have stated is a strong representative of both countries. We have had Wali-Karzia before his assassination make a statement that no one in Kandahar had never heard of Canada, prior to our mission there. He stated in an interview with CBC that the Canadian officials and diplomats said they would bring peace “and” they did. As well as the building they began. This was an echoing of Mr. Naqib, who ruled the Arghandab district prior to his death of a heart attack. The Mullah in the Globe and Mail story below, made it clear Canada (specifically) had to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2009, in order for Afghans to get their country back. Today the article has been edited to remove how critical the Canadian lead mission was to maintain the security of Kandahar City and how this battle was conducted by the Canadian trained ANA & ANP with the Canadian led NATO force quelled an insurgent attack just 25 miles from Kandahar City. This force was the end of our convoy south the rest and main body of our forces were already south west of the city and couldn’t help, the insurgents were routed. Yet the groups I mentioned in my opener refuse to discuss who our military is, and how integral, our whole government support policy is, and needs to be the first step to any embattled nation to see peace and freedoms only democracy can bring. This is what makes our military so different and why it is respected where we have served. This sentiment was also agreed with in Cyprus where their head of state, in an international media statement, he sold the “Canadian” soldiers would be welcome in his country, to begin their adjustment to civilian life. A tremendous undertaking for Cyprus and clearly highlights the pride and respect we, as Canadians, have to have in our military. Like our country and society, our military is unique in the world. Like Babur said in this report, we Canadians have to start learning about who we are. The National media networks have failed us, as above obviously the most popular special interest groups and educational based think tanks are lying to us in favour of the more brutal and obnoxious American way, obviously is far more acceptable to them while we have expressed our views as finding this totally unacceptable. This dissatisfaction has to be used to admonish these so-called “Canadian” represented special interest groups as well. I guess this also includes, this sentiment as well, so much for trusting peace organizations since they support the finding of Global Research, the Monk Institute and civil social activists like the BC Civil Liberties who also get support from the same groups that give us only deceit and are top heavy with snake oil salesmen.
These articles have never been on any docket for Canadian viewership sadly because they define our whole mission although in a limited way. Any of these stories with the most minor examination will source hours of what I call the Canadian way. Please check them out you will not be disappointed.
~CBC The National’s Susan Ormiston’s interview with Ahmad Wali Karzai link above in, in conclusion
These are among those I support simply because they are Afghan and Canadian hybrid groups with a history of working side by side Afghans here and Canadians in Afghanistan. The Canadian way and why there is hope for optimism in the Asia Minor/Middle East.