End of Canada's Afghanistan mission premature, Calgary NGO says
Official with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan says 2 more years would have made a big difference
There will be ceremonies in Calgary and across the country Wednesday to mark the symbolic end of Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan.
More than 40,000 Canadians took part in the mission over the past 12 years — a dangerous job that cost the lives of 158 soldiers, one diplomat, one journalist and two civilian contractors.
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All of Canada’s troops will be out of the war-torn country by the end of the month.
But a Calgary-based group says Canada hasn't finished its work helping to make Afghanistan’s security and police forces self-sufficient.
According to Lauryn Oates, program director with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, another two years of training is required.
“The training mission has had an incredible positive impact but it's not finished and I think they need more time,” she said.
“They're doing a range of training with the Afghan army and police including supporting literacy training which is a really, really important part of professionalizing the police,” said Oates, who has been to Afghanistan about 45 times since 2003.
“So I think it's a shame that Canada's leaving this month.”
Deborah Lyons, the Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, said Canada will remain engaged with a focus on helping build the ruined nation's economy, particularly in the resource sector.
Meanwhile, Canada has also pledged to fund the Afghan National Security Forces with more than $300 million over the next three years,