NATO should act together in Afghanistan: Harper
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has asked the NATO nations to put a joint effort to bring stability in Afghanistan as he warned against "failure" in the war-torn country.Updated: Mar 01, 2009, 12:47 IST
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has asked the NATO nations to put a joint effort to bring stability in Afghanistan as he warned against "failure" in the war-torn country.
"Afghanistan is a serious test for NATO. The disjointed effort in Afghanistan has exposed cracks in NATO. We have to get our act together...Or NATO will not be able to undertake these kinds of missions in the future," Harper was quoted as saying by Wall Street Journal.
The Conservative Party leader, who increased military funding and firmly supported Canada's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) mission in Kandahar since forming a minority government in January 2006, maintains that "for the most part Canadians remain supportive of the mission."
But he warns that the country has become increasingly aware of the cost of maintaining troops and of the difficulty of long-run success in Afghanistan and said that the Canadians are looking to "...Pass off responsibility at some point."
Harper told the journal, "We are not going to 'defeat' the insurgency. The best we can do is train the Afghans so that they are able to manage the insurgency themselves and create, at least a government that has some democratic and rule-of-law norms that is moving in a positive direction."
Supporting President Obama's decision to increase troops in Kandahar, the Canadian PM said, "I would encourage the [Obama] administration to really assess what its objectives are and to make sure they are realistic and achievable."
He also said that the prevalent 'opium trade' in the war-torn nation is a matter of greater concern to security than insurgency.
"I thought from my first visit to Afghanistan that the dependence of the economy on drugs was probably a far greater complicating factor for security in the long term than even the insurgency, and I think we've seen growing evidence that the two are increasingly linked," he said.
On the effects of the recession on Canadian economy, Harper told the journal, "We had net job creation until November (2008) and the tax cutting is continuing.
"We are moving our national corporate tax rate to be the lowest in the G-7 (15 per cent) and we will achieve that by 2012."
He also said that the total corporate rate will get down to 25 per cent -- a full 10 percentage points below the US rate if the provinces cooperate.