CENTRAL NOVA REPORT BY PETER MACKAY
On March 12, Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan formally came to an end.
Nova Scotians and all Canadians can look back with pride at the role our country and service men and women have played in the 12-plus years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. We have combated terrorism; helped push the Taliban from power; and improved the lives of the Afghan people.
During that time more than 40,000 Canadian Forces members from across our province and from all over Canada, were deployed to Afghanistan – with 158 paying the ultimate sacrifice. Their efforts were instrumental though and contributed to:
– Securing the capital so that Afghans could begin rebuilding their governance structure;
– Fighting against Al Qaeda and the Taliban;
– Conducting maritime interdiction activities at sea;
– Fighting insurgents in Kandahar for more than five years;
– Standing up of the Air Wing to keep our troops and vital supplies safe;
– Rebuilding through the Provincial Reconstruction Team;
– Transitioning to help train and mentor the Afghan National Security Forces in Kabul.
Through the provision of security, we were able to make major steps rebuilding the country and improving the lives of the Afghani people by:
– Being responsible for the construction, expansion or restoration of 52 schools;
– Training over 3,000 teachers in Kandahar, and providing literacy training to more than 27,000 individuals;
– Providing training for more than 2,000 health care workers;
– Building crucial infrastructure like roads and dams;
– Clearing mines from hundreds of square kilometres of land which can now be used for agricultural purposes.
Moving forward, we will continue to support the people of Afghanistan. Through 2017, Canada will provide $227 million in development assistance focused on Afghan women and girls through education; maternal, newborn and child health; and human rights, as well as $330 million to build the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces. Canada will continue to play an important role in supporting efforts that contribute to building a better future for all Afghans.
With Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan now over, we can look back on our contributions and achievements in Afghanistan with pride – hard earned and dearly paid – and know that we have made a difference in the everyday lives of the Afghan people.
Peter MacKay is MP for Central Nova and federal Justice Minister.