In accordance with the motion passed by the House of Commons on March 13, 2008, we are honoured to place before Parliament this seventh quarterly report on Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan. This report addresses the period from October 1 to December 31, 2009.
While Canada’s role in Afghanistan is most often associated with our continuing work in the southern province of Kandahar, the impact of Canadian initiatives extends well beyond provincial boundaries, as we seek to assist the Afghan people with developing a more stable, secure and democratic country. In this quarterly report, we focus on Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan on a national scale, while updating progress on each of our six mission priorities and three signature projects.
Since the conclusion of this reporting quarter, Afghanistan’s political environment remains unsettled following the 2009 presidential elections. While a majority of Cabinet positions were filled as of early 2010, a full Cabinet had not yet been sworn in, as Parliament exercised its constitutionally mandated role to approve nominees. Canada stands ready to assist the Afghan administration with future measures it undertakes to advance democratic governance.
For the people of Afghanistan, and for coalition soldiers and civilians, insurgent violence remains a constant reality. For Canadians, the December 30, 2009 attack on Canadian Forces that killed five and injured another five Canadians, and the deaths of two more soldiers in two separate incidents in January and February, bear witness to the courage of those, military and civilian alike, who work so selflessly in the face of such danger.
Earlier in December 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that a major military and civilian surge will take place in Afghanistan in the early part of 2010. We welcome this critical commitment from the largest of our coalition partners in Afghanistan, which holds promise for improving security while generating new prospects for economic development.
We note as well that the international community came together in London on January 28, 2010, for a conference on Afghanistan. This conference presented an important opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the international community to work with the Government of Afghanistan in bringing stability, good governance, self-sufficiency and security to the country. Canada was pleased to contribute to the proceedings and, while there, announced a $25 million contribution to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in support of counter-narcotic efforts.
Once again, we stand in praise of the men and women of the Canadian Forces and our civilian staff, who seek to help Afghanistan achieve peace and security. With all Canadians, we honour in our collective memory those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and those who have been wounded, along with their families. Their dedication will never be forgotten.
Our next report will cover the period January 1 to March 31, 2010.
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon
Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)
The Honourable Peter MacKay
Minister of National Defence
The Honourable Vic Toews
Minister of Public Safety
The Honourable Beverley J. Oda
Minister of International Cooperation