Canada pledges $200 million more for
[PoliticsWatch updated 2:15 p.m., February 26, 2007]
|Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes hands
with Omar Samad, Afghanistan Ambassador to Canada, at a
ceremony on Parliament Hill Monday.
OTTAWA — Canada's
Conservative government announced an additional $200 million in
reconstruction assistance to war-torn Afghanistan on Monday.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement in
a ceremony on Parliament Hill.
The new money comes as opposition parties continually allege that
Canada's mission in Afghanistan lacks balance is too focused on
"Global security hinges on success in Afghanistan," Harper
said in a prepared statement.
"If we fail in Afghanistan, if that country relapses into anarchy and once again becomes a haven for extremists and terrorists, the world will be manifestly more dangerous."
The $200 million in additional funding will bring Canada's total aid
and reconstruction expenditure for Afghanistan to $1 billion by
2011, the prime minister said.
The money is being used to accelerate development programs for rural development,
pay the salaries of teachers, health workers and police to ensure basic government services and
to provide micro credit for small businesses.
Ten million dollars will be spent to build on a highway to improve
Afghanistan's ability to trade.
In attendance at Monday's event was Omar Samad, Afghanistan's
Ambassador to Canada, who said Canada's commitment will not be
"On this occasion and on behalf of all Afghans, including Afghan Canadians, I would like to tell you that from our perspective Canada stands proud and tall among nations for making good on its pledges to support one of the world's most war-torn and impoverished
nations," the ambassador said.
Later when fielding questions from reporters, the prime minister was
asked if Canada planned to extend its military involvement in
Afghanistan beyond the current 2009 deadline.
Last week, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion made a major speech
on Afghanistan in which he promised to get Canada out of Afghanistan
The prime minister said it is too early to say what Canada will do
when 2009 approaches.
"I don't think one can make a judgment on the facts and the best course of action in 2009 in
2007," he said. "I think that's a precipitous and unwise way of making decisions."
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