Canadian Politics. It's not so boring.

September 22, 2006

Afghan president contradicts NDP

A recent Reality Check on the NDP website pulled a quote from Afghan President Karzai's speech to the UN to suggest that the mission in Afghanistan isn't balanced:
"Bombings in Afghanistan are no solution to the Taliban. You do not destroy terrorism by bombing villages. You do not destroy terrorism by launching military operations in areas where only the symptoms have emerged."
However, I think it's the NDP that needs a reality check. A Toronto Star article says:
In a direct rebuff to critics like NDP Leader Jack Layton who say the mission is out of whack, Karzai said Canadian efforts in Afghanistan are properly balanced between reconstruction and military support.
The remarks that the NDP quoted probably represent Karzai's opinion that there must be more than just military operations to help Afghanistan and there is. The Star article shows some of those accomplishments that Karzai discussed:
# School enrolment has shot up almost 1,000 per cent since the collapse of the Taliban, he said, with six million boys and girls in school today compared with just 700,000 boys who studied five years ago.

# Girls were not allowed to study under the Taliban but now fill more than one-third of the classroom seats.

# Unfortunately, insurgents have burned down 150 schools, triggering a decline in student enrolment by 200,000 since last year.

# The country’s per-capita income has doubled in five years but remains only $355.
It's nowhere near heaven on Earth but it's better than it was. Does Layton think that the Taliban would've allowed millions of girls to go to school?

Karzai noted, "“The tragedy of Sept. 11 showed in a terrible way the flaws of the arguments against helping Afghanistan. For one thing, it showed that, in fact, the cost of ignoring Afghanistan was far higher than the cost of helping it.”


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