Cablegate: Canadian Contributions in Afghanistan
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R 190448Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4426
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
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RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
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SUBJECT: CANADIAN CONTRIBUTIONS IN AFGHANISTAN
1. Canadian security and development efforts in Afghanistan are
substantial and noteworthy. Canada is a leading troop contributor.
Its troops are placed in one of Afghanistan's most dangerous
provinces, where they suffer frequent casualties. Canada is also a
major donor, with Afghanistan representing Canada's largest-ever
bilateral aid recipient.
2. Canadian military contributions in Afghanistan are substantial,
ranking near the top of the list in both troops deployed and
casualties. Since 2001, more than 18,000 Canadian soldiers have
served in Afghanistan. Canada's current contribution of
approximately 2,500 troops deployed to ISAF places it fourth among
troop contributors behind only the U.S., UK and Germany. In terms
of lives lost, Canada has paid a heavy price with 85 Canadian
military personnel and one diplomat killed. Only the U.S. and UK
have suffered greater losses. Canadians have not experienced such
losses since the Korean War. Canada has suffered more combat deaths
than any other coalition partner per capita.
3. Canada's significant troop contribution is concentrated in the
volatile province of Kandahar. In Kandahar, heartland of the
Taliban, Canadians face an active insurgency and large levels of
poppy cultivation. The Canadian Joint Task Force Afghanistan
(JTF-Afg), headquartered at Kandahar Airfield, consists of the
following elements: a Battle Group operating as part of the
Multi-National Brigade in ISAF Regional Command - South; the
National Support Element; an Operational Mentor and Liaison Team
(OMLT); a Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle unit; and a Health
Services Support Company. In addition, the Canadians assumed
responsibility for the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT)
in August 2005.
4. Mentoring and supporting the fledging Afghan National Security
Forces (ANSF) in Kandahar is a key task for the Canadians. The
Canadian Forces are currently mentoring five battalions or "kandaks"
of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and one brigade headquarters
through a Canadian-led OMLT. By 2011, Canada believes the ANA will
demonstrate an increased capacity to conduct operations and sustain
a more secure environment in key districts of Kandahar, with support
from ISAF allies.
5. Canadian Police and the Canadian Forces have contributed directly
to the training of more than 650 members of the Afghan National
Police (ANP) through the Kandahar PRT, and Canada has provided
funding for equipment, infrastructure and police salaries. Officers
from Correctional Services Canada have also advanced correctional
system reform through training, mentoring and expertise. Canada is
optimistic that by 2011 the ANP will demonstrate an increased
capacity to promote law and order in key districts of Kandahar,
supported by justice-sector and corrections capabilities.
Nationwide Reconstruction and Development Contributions
6. Afghanistan is Canada's largest-ever bilateral aid recipient.
Canada's recent announcement of a CAD $600 million contribution to
Afghanistan over the next three years brings its total contribution
for 2001-2011 to CAD $1.9 billion. For fiscal year 2007-2008,
Canada's assistance to Afghanistan totals approximately CAD $280
million. The majority of Canadian funds support Afghan-designed
national programs such as the National Solidarity Program (NSP) and
the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF).
7. Below are some examples of Canadian activities:
8. Basic Services: Canada's CAD $60 million contribution to the
Education Quality Improvement Project (EQUIP) will help increase
access, quality and gender equity in Afghanistan's education sector.
The World Bank-managed EQUIP is Afghanistan's largest education
program. The program supports activities that:
* Strengthen the capacity of schools and communities to manage
teaching and learning activities;
* Invest in human resources (teachers, principals, and educational
administration personnel) and physical facilities;
* Reinforce the capacity of schools, District Education Departments,
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Provincial Education Departments, and the Ministry of Education;
* Promote gender equity by making female teachers and students a
priority within each component activity.
9. Canada is also a major supporter of the NSP and collaborates
closely with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
(GIRoA) to accelerate the roll-out of the program in Kandahar
province. 2007-2008 Canadian disbursements to NSP total CAD $80
million. The NSP is the GIRoA's flagship program for community
development, aimed at strengthening community-level governance and
reconstruction. The program gives rural Afghans a voice in their
country's development through the election of community leaders to
community development councils (CDCs).
10. Humanitarian Assistance: Canadian support to the World Food
Program (WFP) this year is close to CAD $40 million for Afghanistan.
WFP delivers food aid to vulnerable people and populations,
including drought-affected families, civilians affected by conflict
or disaster, refugees who have returned to the country, and
internally-displaced persons. The WFP provides food aid through
general food distribution, food-for-work, food-for-education, and
food-for-health programs. It also provides emergency food
assistance, as appropriate.
11. Canada's contribution of CAD $10 million in support of a joint
appeal from the GIRoA and the UN will help provide emergency food
relief to an estimated 2.5 million Afghans who are facing food
shortages as a result of rising food costs. Between January 2007
and January 2008, the prices of staple foods in Afghanistan have
risen significantly. To address this emergency, the GIRoA and WFP
will conduct interventions targeting food-insecure households,
including an estimated 235,000 households in rural areas and another
190,000 in urban and semi-urban areas, representing an additional
2.5 million Afghans.
12. National Institutions: The Canadian contribution to the ARTF
totals CAD $30 million for 2007-2008 and its historical contriubtion
to date is almost CAD $200 million. The World Bank managed ARTF
supports GIRoA efforts to re-establish a fully functioning and
representative government system. The fund is instrumental in
promoting medium and long-term economic growth and is the main
vehicle for government outreach and services to Afghan citizens.
The fund reimburses a portion of the Afghan government's day-to-day
operating expenses, including expenditures for wages, benefits and
other payments for government employees, as well as operations and
maintenance of line departments.
13. Canada has also made a CAD $6.3 million contribution to the
International Development and Law Organization (IDLO). IDLO has
been active in various areas of justice in Afghanistan, building
legal aid capacity in partnership with the Faculty of Law at the
University of Kabul to provide legal aid training for new law
graduates as well as training in civil/commercial law and gender
crimes for judges and prosecutors. This project improves access to
justice by promoting legal awareness, rendering legal practice more
Kandahar Development Contributions
14. Canada is providing CAD $17.5 million toward the World Health
Organization's (WHO) Global Polio Eradication Initiative and
Tuberculosis Control Program. Canada has provided strong support to
the initiative since its inception. Last year, it committed CAD $5
million, which led to clear results - between 2003 and 2006, the
number of children in rural Afghanistan aged 12-to-23 months that
received the full dosage of oral polio vaccine increased from 30
percent to 70 percent. Canada's contribution of CAD $17.5 million
this year will help build on these positive results by providing
sustained funding for the implementation of the initiative. During
the remainder of 2007 through to March 2009, immunizations will
target 7.3 million children under the age of five, 1.2 million of
whom are located in the southern provinces. Canada's contribution
will also provide the WHO with continued support to implement the
National Tuberculosis Control Program and help address the high rate
of this disease in Afghanistan.
15. While the Polio Eradication Initiative and Tuberculosis Control
Programme are national in scope, both initiatives have a special
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focus on Afghanistan's Southern Region, including Kandahar.
16. Working with the Asian Development Bank, the Afghan Ministry of
Public Works and local contractors, Canada will assist with the
completion of the highway between the districts of Spin Boldak and
Kandahar, in Kandahar Province. The Canadian financial contribution
is CAD $15.3 million. The 103-km Spin Boldak - Kandahar highway is
one of the most important highways in Afghanistan. The road is one
of only six major cross-border links with Afghanistan's neighbors.
Much of Afghanistan's imports and exports have traveled along this
important corridor, since it is one of the two principal roads
between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Since Afghanistan is a landlocked
country, the highway is also the shortest distance to a seaport.