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Canada’s support for Karzai will be put to the test

September 2, 2009

Two Afghanistan developments that Canadians need to track: American and British newspapers report on a “momentum building against Karzai” – significant: “hundreds of tribal leaders came together yesterday in a meeting in Kabul,” led by Abdullah Abdullah. If you read only one story on Afghanistan today this is the one.

The claims of these tribal leaders have yet to be proven and of course, they support “the other guy.” Abdullah trails Hamid Karzai in the percentage of votes counted, 33 to 46. Will other tribal groups come forward?

That will be the sign that triggers a change in the official spin on Karzai from Washington. Right now, 46 percent and the illusion of legitimacy is what it is, this being Afghanistan and not, for instance, Iran.

Interesting, that Canadian media reports today focus on two other leading Afghanistan stories – the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime reports a net poppy cultivation drop of 22 percent over the last year and  a suicide bomber kills the deputy head of Afghan intelligence in the “relatively calm eastern province of Laghman.”

Are Canadian news leaders and opinion makers too easily maintaining their support for Karzai? That might only be countered if Karzai manages to win the needed 50 percent in vote tallies to avoid a run-off election in October. The Afghan Independent Election Commission(IEC) – surely now under incredible pressure – has had as part of its genesis both Canadian fiscal aid and the benefit of people such as Grant Kippen. Perhaps this will stand the results in good stead and provide comfort to the world about the eventual Afghanistan presidential outcome.

And finally, yet another American poll – this time from CNN – released yesterday: 57 percent of Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan. This is the highest disapproval rating for the war since CNN first polled on the issue in 2006.

If the Liberals under Michael Ignatieff follow through on the Liberal bid to bring down the current Harper government, how much will Afghanistan feature in yet another Canadian federal election, despite our 2011 “end game”?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Hugh Rose permalink
    September 3, 2009 6:11 am

    Vote Harper if you want Canada’s war in Afganistan to continue. Vote Iggy if you don’t want the war in Afganistan to end.

  2. Sandra Chamberlain-Snider permalink
    September 2, 2009 8:23 pm

    The ISAF website Aug 31 blurb on McChrystal’s report talks about “a revised implementation strategy” to facilitate supporting the Afghan NSF, improvements in governance and socioeconomic development. “Revised” could mean more boots on the ground, stabilizing support for Karzai, or something else. I think it could mean something else, along non-traditional lines. Think about the flow of data, the economic resources in information. I think maybe Afghans are starting think “outside the poppy field” if you will excuse the pun.

    Databases, the gathering of information, create their own economic engines and I surmise this is where the future lies for Afghans, power over their own economy rather than have to choose between the Taliban or a NATO babysitter. Afghans would probably have to rethink the single name identity though that the nytimes article reports. They would need to expand from agricultural to informational with more than one name identifier.

    I havent read anything by Ignatieff to suggest he is onboard with anything non-traditional when it comes to foreign policy, especially embracing information technology. So yeah, if he is Prime Minister I could definitely see him trying to extend Canada’s “traditional” role in Afghanistan, whether or not we actually have the “boots” to send.

  3. derrick permalink
    September 2, 2009 6:33 pm

    Short of a major destabilisation or a Somalia-esque scandal I do not see the attention of the Canadian public shifting towards Afghanistan. To be very honest, were it not for your weekly reminders I would not be following Afghanistan at all, and I try to stay reasonably well informed. Afghanistan is just not on my radar day-to-day. And that is embarrassing, considering that I must have read three different stories abt Michael Bryant today.

    If Ignatieff wins, I think we will end up staying longer. It’s like a teenager who’s been reading car magazines since he was 10 – once he gets his license, he’s not just going to keep his new car in the driveway. I can’t see Commander in Chief Ignatieff, his hands on the real tools of foreign policy (i.e. an army) for the first time in his life, content to supervise helicopter replacements and the occasional Arctic exercise.


  1. Afghanistan behind the headlines: what Canada’s media isn’t telling us « Canada’s World

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