Minister Baird Tables 11th and 12th Quarterly Reports on Canada’s Engagement in Afghanistan

(No. 164 – June 15, 2011 – 4:30 p.m. ET) John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, today released the Government of Canada’s 11th and 12th quarterly reports on Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan. The reports cover the period from October 1 to December 31, 2010, and January 1 to March 31, 2011 respectively. These reports outline the progress achieved on Canada’s six priorities and three signature projects in Afghanistan. The theme of the 11th report is governance, and the theme of the 12th is Afghan leadership.

"The men and women of Canada’s military and civilian police forces, along with civilian representatives, continue to make good progress on our priorities in Afghanistan and continue to make us proud,” said Minister Baird.

Change in Afghanistan has not come easily.

As Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan enters a new phase, building on the progress and achievements that have been made with Afghan and international partners will depend largely on strong, Afghan-led institutions of governance that can consistently meet the needs and expectations of the Afghan people.

"The best way to improve things in Afghanistan is for Afghans to take control of their future and to move forward, with international support, in implementing the Afghanistan National Development Strategy," said Minister Baird.

Canada remains committed to supporting Afghans as they build a country that is better governed, more stable and secure.

"On behalf of all Canadians, we honour and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to Canada, as well as those who have been injured, and their families," said Minister Baird.

Achievements over the two quarters include:

  • The Afghan National Army continues to grow and remains ahead of schedule in attaining its growth objective of 171,600 members by October 2011.
  • Afghan National Police officer training was delivered to 26 new recruits and leadership courses were provided for another 40 officers.
  • An additional 15 school projects were completed, for a total of 41 to date. Canada has committed to building, expanding or repairing 50 schools in Kandahar province.
  • Significant work was completed on the rehabilitation of the Dahla Dam and irrigation system, which resulted in Kandahar province seeing its first saffron crop in decades. To build on the progress of the Arghandab Irrigation Rehabilitation Project, Canada supported the distribution of 11,000 saffron bulbs and the training of 110 farmers. The Arghandab district also produced the best pomegranate crop in recent memory.
  • The Afghan National Customs Academy graduated its fourth class of students, for a total of 201.
  • A senior management course was delivered to 10 Afghan senior customs officials.
  • In the 12th quarter, the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) successfully completed the implementation of a four-year project, Through the Garden Gate, through which 90 women farmers’ groups were organized and received regular agricultural support services.
  • To date, over 1,455 health workers have been trained, These include doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers.
  • Three justice targets were met over the two quarters: training of justice officials, upgrading of infrastructure, and increasing capacity in legislative drafting. 

For more information on Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan, consult the 11th Quarterly Report and the 12th Quarterly Report.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Chris Day
Director of Communications
Office of Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird
613-995-1851

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