Canada's Independent Advisory Panel on the Afghan Mission must focus on how to build peace in Afghanistan.

October 12, 2007

The independent advisory panel announced today by Prime Minister Harper is a welcome opportunity for Canadians to reconsider our goals in Afghanistan. But to achieve that end, it will need to broaden the options the government has asked it to examine.

"We would like to see the panel add peace-building and development to its options" say's Gerry Barr, President and CEO of CCIC. "And we can't wait until 2009 to start talking about peace, Afghans need peace now."

The Prime Minister has outlined at least four options before the Advisory Panel chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Manley:

1. Continue training the Afghan army and police so Canada can begin withdrawing its forces in February 2009;

2. Focus on reconstruction and have forces from another country take over security in Kandahar;

3. Shift Canadian security and reconstruction effort to another region in Afghanistan;

4. Withdraw all Canadian military except a minimal force to protect aid workers and diplomats.

Missing in all four options are development and diplomacy and their vital role in building peace. Canada needs to re-orient its mission to Afghanistan to make these efforts our top priority. The Panel should investigate what role Canada could play to support a broad based peace process in Afghanistan. Further, the Panel should also examine ensuring the effectives of development assistance by maintaining the independence of development and humanitarian actors from military personnel.

CCIC welcomes the Advisory Panel and its members call on the Panel to consult fully Canadian and Afghan NGOs in their research, deliberations and recommendations.

For more information contact: 

Peter Puxley
Media Relations 
Tel.: 613-241-7007 Ext. 311