CANADA to spend $3.5-billion on AFGHAN effort


They include measures such as the development of an Afghan army, a police force and a border patrol, a significant reduction in the number of land mines and a targeted increase in female employment.


(06.06.2006)



Job won't be over until peace, security have been restored, MacKay says

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
OTTAWA - Canada will spend more than $3.5-billion by 2009 to help Afghanistan rout the Taliban and restore peace and security, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said yesterday.

The total expenditures by Canadian taxpayers to date in the war-torn country amount to $2.3-billion, Mr. MacKay told the Commons defence committee late yesterday afternoon. That comprises $1.8-billion in defence spending and another $500-million in additional expenditures, including humanitarian assistance and democratic renewal.

Canada has promised to provide troops and security through to 2009. That will cost an additional $1.25-billion, Mr. MacKay said. The Canadian International Development Agency will spend another $310-million between now and 2011.

"Canada and its international partners are making a difference in Afghanistan" by helping to create a sense of security and self-sufficiency, as well as extend freedoms that have not previously existed, Mr. MacKay said.

He said Canada will know its job in Afghanistan is done when the more than 40 recommendations that came out of an international conference on Afghanistan that took place in London earlier this year have been achieved.

They include measures such as the development of an Afghan army, a police force and a border patrol, a significant reduction in the number of land mines and a targeted increase in female employment.

Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh, who sits on the committee, took Mr. MacKay to task over a number of issues, primarily a pending purchase of aircraft.

The government is reportedly ready to acquire a fleet of four C-17 Globemaster long-range cargo planes at a cost of $2.5-billion. General Rick Hillier, the Chief of the Defence Staff, is known to favour spending the money on short-range, tactical lift transport planes.

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor told the House of Commons yesterday that no decision on the purchase has been made.

But Mr. Dosanjh accused Mr. MacKay and the Conservatives of choosing the long-range aircraft for political purposes and ignoring military requirements.

Mr. Dosanjh and NDP defence critic Dawn Black also asked about the detainment of prisoners in Afghanistan and whether they were being held in accordance with the spirit, if not the precise mandate, of the Geneva Conventions.

Canada turns any prisoners over to the Afghan government, but Ms. Black pointed out that human-rights observers say 30 per cent are tortured in Afghan prisons.

Mr. MacKay said Canada does bear responsibility for the prisoners captured by its troops, and "we have made our views known that we feel very strongly" that the rules of the Geneva Conventions be applied.

Von: 07.06.2006, By GLORIA GALLOWAY, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060607.wxafghancost07/BNStory/Afghanistan/home

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