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Afghan minister praises Canada as 'greatest ally'
National Post ^ | 04 Oct 2007 | Peter Goodspeed and Sarah Boesveld

Posted on 10/05/2007 11:30:25 AM PDT by BGHater

TORONTO -- In a soft voice that quivered with emotion, Afghanistan's Education Minister Mohammed Atmar told a Toronto audience on Thursday that his countrymen want to thank "every Canadian citizen for what you have been doing in Afghanistan."

"You protect our people and advance the basic rights of our people," he said. "Our government is so proud to convey to you that you are our greatest ally -- an ally that we depend upon, an ally to be appreciated, an ally that we will long be grateful to."

Mr. Atmar's words of praise came on the same day Canada pledged $60-million over four years to education in Afghanistan.

Mr. Atmar paid particular tribute to "the brave Canadian men and women in uniform who are literally protecting my kids as they go to school."

What Canada has done in Afghanistan is "something that will be written in golden script in our history books," he said.

Speaking at a public forum sponsored by UNICEF, Mr. Atmar said it's natural the focus of the public debate on Afghanistan in Canada would be on security issues and the Canadian military's fight with elements of the outlawed Taliban.

But he insisted that while the security situation is challenging, there is a great deal of real progress taking place all over Afghanistan.

"What is happening in terms of education is a strategic transformation of society," he said, noting more than six times as many children are going to school now than when the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001.

There are now nearly six million children going to school and 40% of those -- more than two million -- are girls.

When the Taliban were in power, it was illegal for girls to go to school, though a small number were secretly educated in underground schools in private homes.

The new Canadian money will buy textbooks, fund teacher training, and help build schools, Mr. Atmar said.

However, critics questioned whether the money will be properly tracked.

The money will go to Afghanistan's Education Quality Improvement Project, one of nine programs managed by the World Bank's Afghanistan Redevelopment Trust Fund (ARTF).

But the Senlis Council, an international think-tank that tracks government distribution of humanitarian aid, recently found the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) hasn't put its money where its mouth is, nor have its commitments been clearly tracked.

Senlis followed $39-million CIDA transferred to Kandahar last year to see where it was spent. In August, Senlis officials visited the site of a hospital maternity unit CIDA said was to receive $35,000 through UNICEF. When Senlis arrived, they found nothing, not even a tent.

When reached Thursday, CIDA spokespeople said the World Bank's ARTF is audited by PriceWaterHouse Cooper, which routinely reports to the World Bank, though it didn't specify how often.

It was not confirmed who specifically will ensure Canada's $60-million will be spent on books and building schools. Nor was it specified how often CIDA contacts its organizations to track its finances.

For his part, Mr. Atmar said his department is now focusing on training female teachers, so it can further boost female school enrolment. When the current government re-opened Afghanistan's school system in 2002, it had only 20,000 teachers -- a figure that has now grown to 140,000, of whom 40,000 are women.

Schools are a visible sign of reconstruction and progress and are frequently attacked by insurgents in Afghanistan. But in spite of the recent increase in attacks by the Taliban, only about 3% of Afghanistan's more than 9,000 schools are threatened, he said.

"Canadians need to know this and not give up on Afghanistan," said Nigel Fisher, president of UNICEF Canada.

"If you look at a map of Afghanistan, it is important to see that the area of Taliban activity is only one third of the country. Most Canadians don't know that in two thirds of the country, there is considerable progress and the Taliban is not a problem."

"Our presence in Afghanistan has to be long-term," Mr. Fisher added, "because development is a long-term issue. And when you look at the chaos that Afghanistan came out of in 2002 -- 25 years of predatory leadership, of foreign invasion and civil war -- you don't turn that around in a couple of years."


TOPICS: Canada; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; ally; canada; minister

1 posted on 10/05/2007 11:30:34 AM PDT by BGHater
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To: BGHater

Greatest ally?!??! HELLO!?!?!?!


2 posted on 10/05/2007 11:33:16 AM PDT by Slapshot68
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To: BGHater

Coming out of its anti-American snit in the Chretien regime, the Canadians have been doing some of the heaviest slogging in Afghanistan. They reflect great credit on themselves like their grandfathers at Normandie.

But this Afghan Minister better get his gratitude in line with reality and remember who delivered them from the Taliban.


3 posted on 10/05/2007 11:34:09 AM PDT by oldbill
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To: oldbill
He is probably like hildebeast... and says whatever the audience he is speaking to wants to hear.

LLS

4 posted on 10/05/2007 11:38:03 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (Support America, Kill terrorists, Destroy dims!)
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To: oldbill
But this Afghan Minister better get his gratitude in line with reality and remember who delivered them from the Taliban.

Nitpicking a gracious "thank you" is pointless. I'm sure he would call the U.S. their "greatest" ally if he was addressing U.S. officials. It is great to see a country show appreciation, for a change, for all that allies like Canada have done.

5 posted on 10/05/2007 11:40:59 AM PDT by Prokopton
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To: BGHater

We can bow to Canada on this one. They deserve credit too. No need to rain on their parade just to boost our ego.


6 posted on 10/05/2007 12:04:08 PM PDT by normy (Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.)
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To: normy

Agreed. The Canucks have been doing some heavy lifting in Afg. for several years now. Kudos to the Canucks!


7 posted on 10/05/2007 12:36:03 PM PDT by ChinaThreat (s)
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To: All

Our soldiers have been doing great work there. As have every other nations soldiers who are there. I am so happy that we all have made a positive difference in their lives.

That the females of the country are free to make choices. To be something other than baby machines.

Canada, ya done good. As has the US, and every other country who is fighting for your liberation from the Taliban.

It’s nice to see a little appreciation once and a while, for all of our soldiers fighting over there.

God Bless all of our soldiers. May the good fight be won.


8 posted on 10/05/2007 12:50:53 PM PDT by LilyBean
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To: oldbill; Slapshot68
The US did the bulk of the heavy lifting in Afghanistan and still does and will continue to do so for the forseeable future. The US is, after all, the world's only superpower and that is one of the imperatives of empire.

But the US was not alone when it ousted the Taliban government. Canada's deployment in 2001 and 2002, under a Liberal government btw, was the third largest after the US and the UK.

Canada immediately deployed JTF2 bricks to Afghanistan where the US made good use of them calling in air strikes. Canadian sniper teams set distance records taking out Taliban from distances approaching 2 1/2 klicks.

Canada started deploying frigates and destroyers to the Gulf in 2001 where they served in interdiction patrols and as part of escorts in US task forces.

Canadian officers already assigned to US units were directed to remain with those units including when those units were deployed to Iraq. (There is at least one case in which a Canadian officer paid by Canada was in a line command position of a US unit in Iraq.)

The 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Light Infantry battle group started arriving in Afghanistan in January 2002 and was fully deployed by February of that year.

Canada continues to maintain a battle group in Afghanistan as part of NATO and does so without the caveats put by some other NATO nations that keep those nations' soldiers out of the hot theatres such as Kandahar.

I agree that our 'ti Jean was somewhat snotty in his attitude toward the Yanks, but he did deploy troops and ships and at an earlier stage than any other country except the US.

9 posted on 10/05/2007 12:50:55 PM PDT by Clive
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To: BGHater
Mr. Atmar paid particular tribute to "the brave Canadian men and women in uniform who are literally protecting my kids as they go to school."

What Canada has done in Afghanistan is "something that will be written in golden script in our history books," he said.


Bravo!
10 posted on 10/05/2007 1:02:09 PM PDT by mmichaels1970
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To: LibLieSlayer

He is probably like hildebeast... and says whatever the audience he is speaking to wants to hear.

He’s muslum isn’t he? That’s a given.


11 posted on 10/05/2007 1:02:26 PM PDT by Bitsy
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To: Prokopton
I'm with you. The Canadians have been doing a great job over there, and they deserve this very gracious thank you. It should be enough to see a valued ally receive a much deserved pat on the back.

Bless you, Canada.SmileyCentral.com

12 posted on 10/05/2007 1:03:49 PM PDT by Tully Pettigrew 1 (I used to care, but now I take a pill for that. ( Hunter /2008))
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To: LibLieSlayer
There is an important reason that the speech had to be made.

Canada's Conservative government extended the committment to keep troops in Afghanistan to February 2009. The Conservative government wants to extend the committment beyond that point for so long as is necessary to finish the job.

But the Conservative government is a minority government and the opposition parties are pressing for the government to announce that it will not extend the committment.

The Afghanistan government is keenly aware of this and is attempting to let Canadians know that Canadian soldiers are serving a needed purpose and that Afghans are grateful and intend to do their part.

Speeches such as this one help to demonstrate to Canadians that we are not spending treasure and lives to no good end, as the opposition claims.

13 posted on 10/05/2007 1:05:17 PM PDT by Clive
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To: BGHater; Alberta's Child; albertabound; AntiKev; backhoe; Byron_the_Aussie; Cannoneer No. 4; ...

-


14 posted on 10/05/2007 1:07:35 PM PDT by Clive
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To: LibLieSlayer

He is probably like hildebeast... and says whatever the audience he is speaking to wants to hear.

He’s muslum isn’t he? Lying to the infidel is a given. But, he should have lied to us first cause without us their women would still be wrapped from head to toe like mummies.


15 posted on 10/05/2007 1:09:34 PM PDT by Bitsy
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To: Clive

That is good to know! Thanks!

LLS


16 posted on 10/05/2007 1:34:37 PM PDT by LibLieSlayer (Support America, Kill terrorists, Destroy dims!)
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To: Bitsy

:-)

LLS


17 posted on 10/05/2007 1:35:24 PM PDT by LibLieSlayer (Support America, Kill terrorists, Destroy dims!)
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To: BGHater
Ok ok, sure feelings get bruised. I ain't gonna get into any heavy stuff today. Ah, the God given fall weather up in the Great Lakes country today. The sun, the fall colours and all. If Americans and Canadians - er' and we Brits too, can fix up this absolutely vile bunch in Afghanistan, all to the good. All Freepers must know what the swines do to to poor innocent women- It is a cause that is blessed.

When that is done, we can all claim "it was us". Hopefully over a beer or two. What I must mention is the fighting 22nd Regt of the Province of Quebec. They are now in the thick of it. Already suffered fatal casualties.

Yep, the same "Van Doos" - French speaking soldiers, their fathers fought in the battle for Europe 1944.

18 posted on 10/05/2007 2:00:38 PM PDT by Peter Libra
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To: BGHater; GMMAC; Clive; exg; kanawa; conniew; backhoe; -YYZ-; Former Proud Canadian; Squawk 8888; ...

19 posted on 10/05/2007 2:18:07 PM PDT by fanfan ("We don't start fights my friends, but we finish them, and never leave until our work is done."PMSH)
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To: Clive
I had forgotten about that. Thanks.

Canadian sniper makes record shot

20 posted on 10/05/2007 2:47:36 PM PDT by fanfan ("We don't start fights my friends, but we finish them, and never leave until our work is done."PMSH)
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To: Slapshot68
If this helps keep the Canadians in Afghanistan, they're free to a little of the 'glory'.

Though it should be ultimately up to the American, Canadian, British, Dutch, and other forces actually in Afghanistan to be offended or not offended at Canada being referred to as Afghans' greatest ally.

21 posted on 10/05/2007 3:55:25 PM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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