SAIT instructor sees hope in Afghanistan as Canadian mission ends
Canada's military involvement in the country formally ended today
A Calgary business instructor who travelled to Afghanistan to train locals at a telecommunications company has seen firsthand how the country is recovering from war.
- Special Report | Canada in Afghanistan
- Herald editor reflects on journalist's death in Afghanistan as military prepares to leave
- Calgary paramedic: Canada's Afghan mission 'absolutely' worth it
- Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan: a video timeline
CBC's Kyle Bakx will be exploring the issues around Canada's mission in Afghanistan through its impact on Calgarians.
On Monday, he looked at a Calgary paramedic who spent eight months in the country.
The second part was an interview with the editor of the Calgary Herald about the death of journalist Michelle Lang.
Fiaz Merani is optimistic about the country's future, but does have some reservations.
"I did feel a sense of hope that, yes, the country is coming out. My sense of despair came from how long it is going to take," he said.
"It took a long time to go into turmoil and it will take if not longer to come out of it."
The telecom company he visited was established as the reconstruction phase in Afghanistan began.
"Here we are providing them training so that they can actually be constructive, be leading this telecom in the future, because if they were not here, where would they be? Who would be the one providing them their income, for example, or giving them those work skills? Or giving them their sense of hope that something positive is coming out at the end sometime."
Merani spent three weeks in Afghanistan holding seminars with front-line staff, managers and directors. The goal was to teach them accounting, basic budgeting and how to read financial documents.
It's the same type of lessons Merani teaches at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).
"When students come to SAIT in their first, second or third semesters, this is some of the things, concepts that we teach them," said Merani.
"The only difference was it had to be condensed as much as possible into a two-day workshop."
When it works with his schedule, the instructor plans to return to Afghanistan to continue lending a hand with teaching and training.
He calls it his small part in helping the country emerge from war.
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.