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Canada: Military alone can’t solve Afghan issue

world Updated: Mar 09, 2009 23:39 IST
V Krishna
V Krishna
Hindustan Times
Canada: Military alone can’t solve Afghan issue

We don’t hear enough from the Canadians. The country’s Defence Minister Peter Mackay visited Washington last week and held serious debate with his US counterpart Robert Gates on Afghanistan, where three more Canadian soldiers were killed a few days ago.

A Canadian soldier was killed on Sunday, raising the toll to 112. Canada, which has 2,800 troops in Afghanistan. Canada has the highest casualty rate in Afghanistan, according to the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail.

Addressing a meeting organised by the German Marshall Fund of the United States on March 6, Mackay said: “To succeed in Afghanistan will take more than military means. But I would say the corollary to that is it won’t happen without the military.”

He observed that the Taliban are growing in strength because they have the ability to seek safe haven in Pakistan.

Mackay said the madrassas in Pakistan were producing young, motivated people, who hate the West. “I believe this is one of the worst sources of burgeoning terrorism,” he underlined. “Young people, including Afghans and Pashtuns besides Pakistanis, are festering in these madrassas.”

Mackay pointed out that to win the war in Afghanistan “it will require working closely with Pakistan and help them provide alternatives to their education system”.