Canada

Afghan mission has cost $4.1B and counting: report

The Polaris Institute is urging politicians not to extend Canada's role in Afghanistan for another two years, saying the campaign has already cost the country more than $4.1 billion since 2001.

The Polaris Institute is urging politicians not to extend Canada's role in Afghanistan for another two years, saying the campaign has already cost the country more than $4.1 billion since 2001.

In sending troops to Afghanistan, Canada has lost its traditional focus on peacekeeping, the Ottawa-basedresearch institutesaid Wednesday.

It said fewer Canadian peacekeepers are being sent on United Nations peacekeeping missions in the years following the September 2001 attacks against the United States.

"Essentially today you can take all of our blue-helmet peacekeepers and fit them on a single school bus," said Steve Staples, a spokesman for the Polaris Institute.

"We used to be a Top 10 contributor. Canada now ranks far down the list at 50th out of 95 countries currently contributing military personnel to UN missions."

On Wednesday, the House of Commons is scheduled to spend six hours debating a two-year extension for the Afghan mission.

Other claims in the Polaris Institute's report:

  • The Afghanistan mission and related operations have eaten up 68 per cent of the federal money allocated to international missions between the fall of 2001 and last month.
  • During the same time, only three per cent, or $214 million, went to United Nations operations.
  • 59 Canadian military personnel are attached to international UN missions at the moment, compared to 2,300 troops who are stationed in Afghanistan.

The institute said it arrived at its figures by crunching numbers in annual editions of the Defence Department Report on Plans and Priorities.

The Polaris Institute's website says the group's goal is to "enable citizen movements to re-skill and re-tool themselves to fight for democratic social change in an age of corporate driven globalization."

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