Prime Minister Harper must undertake a major overhaul of Canada’s strategy in Afghanistan. The extreme poverty of southern Afghanistan, the growing disenchantment of the local population with the international presence, call for a dramatic overhaul of Canada’s development, aid and counter-narcotics polices there. Kandahar has seen a sharp rise in support for the insurgency in recent months. The province’s refugee camps are full of starving people, and have become easy recruiting ground for the Taliban. Civilian casualties continue to fuel local resentment against the foreign presence in Afghanistan. Kandahar’s hospitals are completely inadequate to deal with the war zone casualties or the basic health needs of the local population.
This report’s recommendations call on the Canadian government to relieve CIDA of its responsibility for development efforts in Afghanistan. CIDA would be replaced by the appointment of a Special Envoy to Afghanistan to coordinate development, aid and counter-narcotics policy, with a development and aid budget equal to the military budget.