Thank you very much for having us here today. I also wanted to thank the district leaders for inviting us to the Shura he has just organized.
We welcome the opportunity to come here today because it’s an important opportunity to talk about Op Kantolo and to explain how it fits within the broader framework of what Canada is trying to accomplish in Afghanistan.
In 2008 Canada (Inaudible) it’s mission in Afghanistan to make sure that the population is at the heart of everything we try to accomplish in this province and this country.
The government of Canada recognizes there can be no purely military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and rather that it is essential that the people of Kandahar, the people of Afghanistan see some tangible improvements in their quality of life, for this country to see the security and stability we all hope for.
To have that impact in the lives of individual Afghans, it requires that we leverage all of the skills and the talents that Canada has both in the civilian side as well on the military side so that we can contribute in areas of governance and development as well as our ongoing military effort.
This new focus on the population is embodied in the six priorities that guide all of Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan. Whether it be the training of the Afghan National security forces or in helping the government of Afghanistan deliver basic services, or providing humanitarian assistance, it’s all about making visible change in the lives of individual Afghans.
Op Kantolo is about bringing together all three of these lines of operation in one geographic area.
The opportunity to do so has come in part by the decision by the United States to increase it’s involvement in the south of Afghanistan in Kandahar province in particular. As the number of US Forces grows over the course of 2009 it permits Canada to increase its focus in the heavily populated areas in Kandahar City and its immediate environment like here today in Deh-e-Bagh.
The objective of Op Kantolo is in this area of Canada’s operations that we bring governance work and development work and military work and security work all together to deliver tangible benefits to the citizens of this province.
Now we look forward to working with our American counterparts as they increase in their presence in this province. Of course the most important partner of all for us is the government of Afghanistan. And that’s why we’re particularly pleased to have the Governor here today with the district leader to underscore the Afghan leadership that lies at the heart of everything that we are trying to accomplish including Op Kantolo.
But at the end of the day the chief stabilization will be when the people of Afghanistan and the government of Afghanistan taking care of their basic needs. Thank you very much.