Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Conference of Defence Associations' Executive Director visits Afstan

A first report, more to come:

The CDA’s Executive Director, Colonel (Retired) Alain Pellerin, has just returned from a visit to Afghanistan. Along with other defence stakeholders he met with, among others, the Commander of JTF-Afghanistan BGen Guy LaRoche, Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan Arif Lalani, Commander ISAF General Dan McNeill, and top Afghan officials such as Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development Zia and Minister of Defence Wardak. The group also visited a forward operating base at Ma’sum Ghar and the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar; they met with LCol Dana Woodworth, Commander of the KPRT, and Col JF Riffou, Commander of Canada’s Operational Mentor and Liaison Team.

In a meeting with Minister Zia it was made clear that security and development are two sides of the same coin. The group of visitors came to the conclusion that the mission is not failing, although it could be accelerated if more resources were provided. The mission is in fact progressing well and pointing in the right direction, with the training of Afghan security forces, development and reconstruction occurring in tandem. For example, a roadway is being constructed [more here] in the Panjwaii Valley under Canadian supervision and funding, employing some 400 Afghan workers (with plans to increase the workforce to 800) who are being paid the equivalent of $6 a day. This provides employment, entails infrastructural development, and keeps these workers, who would otherwise be unemployed, out of the clutches of the militant recruitment.

The summer 2008 edition of the CDA Institute’s On Track magazine will contain some articles on the visit...
The first link also contains the CDA's regular comprehensive summary of media coverage related to Afstan.


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