Canada in Afghanistan: Is it Working?

to appear in Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute

Dr. Gordon Smith

Published: February 2007

Keywords: Canada, Afgahnistan, NATO, terrorism, Pakistan, al-Qa'ida, Taliban, Afghan, Kandahar, peacekeeping, war, poppy, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Terrorism, Multilateral Relations, Human Rights, Fragile / Weak States


- Canadian military and civilian personnel have put, and are putting, their lives in mortal danger in Afghanistan; we respect and are proud of them.
- The Afghanistan-Pakistan region arguably represents the single most important, indeed critical, region in the world in the global effort against terrorism.
- NATO's aim is "to help establish the conditions in which Afghanistan can enjoy - after decades of conflict, destruction, and poverty - a representative government and selfsustaining peace and security"; this is a worthy, yet very ambitious goal.
- Current NATO policies and programs in Afghanistan are not on course to achieve that objective, even within a period of ten years. Some policies are working; more are not.
- The next two years will likely be decisive. If major conflict continues at the present rate,there is a very real risk that the local population will become increasingly frustrated by the lack of security (engendering various negative responses), and that some allies will head home.

Disciplines: Governance, Security and Conflict

Publication: Canada-in-Afghanistan.pdf