Focus Afghan mission on women: CARE
Canada should become the international leader in advancing women’s rights, empowerment and development in Afghanistan after its military mission ends in 2011, an aid group's report recommends.
Kevin McCort, CARE's president and chief executive said Canada can best fill the "niche" of focusing on empowering Afghan women in its post-2011 work in the country.
The Canadian Forces are currently preparing for the end of the military mission in Afghanistan next summer.
A parliamentary motion passed March 13, 2008, calls for Canada to "end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011" and for all forces to have left by the following December. Prime Minister Stephen Harper subsequently said that the vast majority of troops would be out of Afghanistan, and not just Kandahar, by the deadline.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay has said Canada is willing to continue mentoring Afghan police after the troop disengagement. As well, some opposition MPs have indicated they would support for a continued development role for Canadian troops after the deadline.
CARE's report recommends Canada champion the education of Afghan girls, especially at the secondary level, and "lead the call" for women’s rights being guaranteed without qualification throughout all future reconciliation and reintegration processes.
It also calls for the Afghan government to be held to their legal obligations and to respect, protect and promote the rights of women.