This week Lawrence Cannon joins other foreign affairs ministers in Afghanistan for the Kabul Conference, to hear what the Karzai government has to say for itself regarding its plans for combating corruption and improving the delivery of services to Afghan citizens. With withdrawal impending next year, it’s not clear in which areas Canadian dollars will be committed; but it is clear that enthusiasm in the Conservative government for Afghanistan is quickly waning.
Fair enough, considering that there has never been overwhelming public appetite for our Afghan engagement and politicians do seek to stay in power, after all. Further, the Karzai government admittedly makes for a challenging bilateral partner, and the insurgency rages on after eight years.
In the short-term, disentanglement from this mess seems very practical, especially as other NATO partners find ‘exit strategy’ in their lexicon more often these days than ‘winning’. Of course, recent past history should remind us that in the long term, abandoning Afghanistan by deadlines derived from our own squirming discomfort at being found dealing with other people’s problems in far-off Central Asia rather than by the achievement of specific...More >>