Last week we learned of yet another innocent Afghani killed by Canadian soldiers. Through the Government of Canada's misguidedmilitary aggression, support for insurgency is the only option formany Afghanis. Each incident results in a further erosion of thereputation of coalition forces and an increase in the strength of theTaliban.
Prime Minister Harper's approach through trigger-happy General RickHillier ignores all the lessons learned in regional counter-insurgency experiences.
Afghanistan is rapidly becoming the main recruitment center forTaliban fighters. Canada's approach is making already impoverishedAfghanis feel alienated and hostile toward the internationalcommunity.
According to the Senlis Council's recent report NATO makes no effortto provide health care to civilians, and the main hospitals inKandahar and Helmand provinces remain "dilapidated, barren andfilthy," and lack "basic war zone trauma treatment, medical diagnostic equipment, medicines, oxygen and trained staff." This callous disregard for ordinary citizens coupled with crushing poverty and growing resentment of coalition troops is a perfect recruiting environment for Taliban forces.
Canada needs to urgently reassess our strategy. We need ongoinghumanitarian aid, economic development and the establishment of functioning health care and education systems in order to win the hearts and minds of ordinary citizens. Canada needs to adopt policies that will win trust and confidence in Afghanistan and must end US style blind aggression before the challenges become insurmountable.
By John van Gurp