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September 15, 2009 (12:30 p.m. EDT)
No. 252

Fifth Quarterly Report on Afghanistan Released

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Afghanistan, today released the Government of Canada’s fifth quarterly report on Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan. This report, for the quarter ending June 30, 2009, highlights Canada’s signature projects.

“The security challenges we face in Afghanistan are significant. However, Canada continues to make progress on the six priorities we have identified that will help build the foundation for a more stable Afghanistan,” said Minister Day. “Five schools have been completed, and 28 more are under construction. The Dahla Dam project advanced through key planning phases, and approximately 369,000 children were vaccinated against polio in June.”

The fifth quarterly report highlights Canadian activity in several areas:

  • Under a Canadian-supported project to clear landmines and other explosives, training began for 80 locally recruited deminers in Kandahar, and an additional 270,000 square metres of land were cleared.
  • As a result of the mentoring work of the Canadian Forces, there is an increased capacity on the part of the Afghan National Army in Kandahar to plan and conduct operations.
  • Five schools have been built so far this year, and 28 more are under construction.
  • One hundred teachers were trained under Canadian programming.
  • Work on the Dahla Dam and canal system is on track, with a new bridge being used regularly by Kandaharis.
  • A police training and mentoring program was expanded to include a major increase in Afghan National Police recruitment.
  • Canadian civilians and soldiers supported Afghan preparations for the August 20 elections.

Canada continues to pursue its efforts to protect its security by helping the Afghan government to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a base for terrorism directed against Canada or its allies.

Canada has six clear priorities and three signature projects related to Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan. The six priorities are to enable the Afghan National Security Forces in Kandahar to sustain a safer environment and promote law and order; to strengthen Afghan institutional capacity to deliver basic services; to provide humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable people; to enhance border security by facilitating Afghan-Pakistani dialogue; to help advance Afghanistan’s democratic governance; and to facilitate Afghan-led political reconciliation. The signature projects are the Dahla Dam, education and polio eradication.

The report outlines progress to date for each of the indicators. The report also includes some new and revised benchmarks, to reflect the changing circumstances in Afghanistan.

The fifth quarterly report on Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan can be found at the website Canada’s Engagement in Afghanistan.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada