Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay is promising "blunt talk" with Pakistan's president about the Taliban'suse ofPakistan to prepare attacks on Afghanistan.
The porous, mountainousborder betweenAfghanistan and Pakistanis a major problem, withTaliban militants based in Pakistan attacking Canadian soldiers trying to pacify Kandahar.
"The issue of the border is one that has been what I would describe as the weak underbelly of our ability to bring stability to the south," MacKay said Monday. "The control of movement across the border is something that has to be brought to heel."
MacKay, in Afghanistan for two days, left for Pakistan on Monday after his flight was delayed for 15 minutes because two rockets were fired at the Kandahar base.
While Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is a key Western ally in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, he is in a hard position because he has to be careful not to alienate militants in Pakistan.
Moreover, observers have questioned whether Pakistan's military has the will — partsof Pakistan's intelligence operations are believed to back the militants— or the ability to close the border, described as a lawlessregionin whichtribal loyalties are the strongest ties.
Cash, clothing for Afghan police
MacKay began his final day in Afghanistanby announcing$10 millionto help pay the salaries of Afghan police.
The money will go toward regular weekly salaries of police officers in an effort to stop corruption and co-operation with the Taliban within the force.
"[P]roviding a national civilian police force with an adequate and regular salary is critical to helping restore security and the rule of law in Afghanistan," said MacKay in a news release.
"Our contribution will help further this objective, resulting in a more professional police force to better serve the people of Afghanistan."
A leaked U.S. government report in December said the U.S.-trained Afghan police force was riddled with corruption and incapable of carrying out routine law enforcement. Washington, which contributes $1 billion US to train the force, says the force has about 50,000 members, although the report said 70,000 were on its payroll.
MacKayalso presented 1,500 new uniforms and 2,500 pairs of winter gloves as a show of support from Canada. Hundreds of new officers have graduated from police training since MacKay first visited Afghanistan in May.
MacKay visited Canada's provincial reconstruction team in Kandahar City to see how millions in Canadian aid dollars are being spent.
Comprised of military, civilian police, political and development experts, theteam gives support and supplies to Afghan clinics, hospitals and schools.
The $10 million for Afghan police is part of a five-year, $500-million federal program that supports policing in fragile states, such as Afghanistan, Sudan and Haiti.
By 2011, Canada will have contributed $1 billion to Afghanistan.