Minister Cannon and RCMP Commissioner Elliott Announce Appointment of First Canadian Police Commander in Afghanistan

(No. 120 - May 4, 2009)The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, William Elliott, today announced the appointment of Assistant Commissioner Graham Muir as the first Canadian Police Commander (CPC) in Afghanistan.

"Enabling the Afghan National Security Forces to establish a more secure environment and promote law and order continues to be a priority for Canada," said Minister Cannon. "We are helping to develop a team of Afghan professionals that will gradually take over more and more responsibility for security in the country."

Building the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) is one of Canada's six priorities and an urgent necessity in order to create the security in Afghanistan that good governance and development require. The ANSF consists of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police (ANP).

The appointment of the senior Canadian civilian police officer in Afghanistan will provide expertise at the national level to strengthen ANP capabilities. He will be stationed at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul and, as a member of the Embassy's senior management team, will provide technical expertise and advice to Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan on the reform of the ANP. The CPC will be part of a growing team, based in both Kabul and Kandahar province, whose activities are coordinated by the Ambassador of Canada in Afghanistan and by the Representative of Canada in Kandahar.

"This appointment is part of Canada's commitment to help provide the necessary support to ensure Afghans have the skills and institutional capacity to assume responsibility for their own security," said Commissioner Elliott.

All Canadian civilian police personnel in Afghanistan will be accountable to the CPC. Currently, 30 Canadian police officers from seven police agencies in Canada are deployed in Afghanistan. The number of officers has increased from seven in 2006 and will increase to 50 by the fall.

Assistant Commissioner Graham Muir joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1975. Following recruit training, he was posted to Surrey Detachment in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, where he spent eight years. While in B.C., he completed graduate studies at Simon Fraser University, obtaining a master's degree in criminology in 1982.

His career has included a posting with the United Nations Police in the former Yugoslavia in 1993 and a one-year assignment as Police Commissioner to the UN Mission in Haiti from August 2005 to September 2006. The Governor General of Canada appointed Assistant Commissioner Muir as a Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces in 2005.

Prior to his appointment as the Canadian Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner Muir was the Director General of the RCMP's Strategic Policy and Planning Directorate in Ottawa.

More information on Canada's mission in Afghanistan is available at the Government of Canada website Canada's Engagement in Afghanistan.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874

RCMP Media Relations
613-993-2999