Author Topic: Foreign Affairs Orders Equipment For 2000 ANP Officers  (Read 1191 times)

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Foreign Affairs Orders Equipment For 2000 ANP Officers
« on: October 29, 2006, 14:50:29 »
   http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2006/10/29/2165745-cp.html

Foreign Affairs orders up equipment for 2,000 Afghan police officers

By MURRAY BREWSTER
   
OTTAWA (CP) - Faced with mounting criticism that Canada's role in Afghanistan is all war and no aid, the Foreign Affairs Department has taken the unusual step of purchasing basic equipment for roughly 2,000 Afghan National Police officers.
A tender was issued last week asking for Canadian companies to bid on providing everything from light protective vests and belts to boots and flashlights.
Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, in an interview with The Canadian Press, acknowledged it's the first time his department has been directly involved in the delivery of this kind of support in the Afghan mission.

But he denied that opposition party pressure and mushrooming anti-war protests had anything to do with the $500,000 purchase.
"This is part of an overall approach, where we've been working with other countries," he said. "So decisions were made recently (that) this is how we would proceed."
Much of the country's aid effort in war-ravaged Kandahar is directed by the Canadian International Development Agency. However many of those projects are long-term efforts, such as educating war widows and building confidence in Afghan government institutions.

Much of the task of training, and to a lesser extent equipping, the 55,000-member Afghan National Police (ANP) was a job that fell to Germany under the NATO partnership.
Many American and European commanders have complained that very little has been accomplished, and a recent U.S. Congressional report concluded that five years after the overthrow of the Taliban the ANP remain "corrupt and hollow."
The U.S. and now Canada, which has 2,500 troops in southern Afghanistan, are now taking a more active role in trying to get the police force on its feet.

A team of RCMP and municipal police officers, operating out of the provincial reconstruction base, have been mentoring their Kandahar colleagues. But their efforts are often frustrated by the outright lack, or dilapidated state, of Afghan police equipment.
The absence of a stable, competent and reasonably equipped police force is one factor contributing to the growing insurgency, said MacKay.
"Let's not be naive, we've been in some cases competing directly with recruitment efforts by the Taliban and by those (engaged in) the heroin trade," he said.

"If Afghan citizens are to enlist in policing and armed forces, we have to give them the necessary equipment and better working conditions."

Opposition parties say it's appalling that it's taken the Conservative government so long to come to the conclusion that the Afghan police need better equipment.
"We're coming to the end of our fifth year of military involvement in Afghanistan," said Alexa McDonough, the NDP's foreign affairs critic.
"One has to really raise questions about what's taken them so long."

Some Kandahar cops live and work out of buildings with no running water and electricity. They have no protective vests, flashlights and sometimes few serviceable weapons.
Tales of corruption, extortion and bribery among the poorly paid Afghan police are legion on the streets of Kandahar, where some officers have been known to set up their own checkpoints and demand tolls from residents.
McDonough was quick to claim political credit for the decision, saying the NDP's opposition to the war and insistence on more aid and less fighting is paying off.

"If this finally means they're responding to the pressure - they're responding to the growing dissatisfaction which has gone from uneasy to outright alarm - then this is a good thing," she said.
Modest crowds attended rallies across Canada on the weekend, calling on the Conservatives to bring the troops home.
The Afghan mission is "not well constructed, it's unbalanced, we're putting 10 times as much into the military side as we are into aid,"NDP Leader Jack Layton told several hundred who gathered in Toronto.,

"It's time for Canada to take a new path."
 
 
 
Ordering some proper equipment for them is long overdue.....
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