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New report calls for big changes in Afghanistan

kilekaldar

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New report calls for big changes in Afghanistan
Updated Thu. Jun. 26 2008 9:04 AM ET

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080626/senlis_report_AM_080626/20080626?hub=TopStories

CTV.ca News Staff


A new report warns that the Taliban is creeping closer to Kabul and major changes are necessary if efforts to combat terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia are to succeed.

The report from the international think-tank The Senlis Council, is titled "Angry Hearts and Angry Minds." It was released in Ottawa on Thursday morning.

The group has spent years in Afghanistan studying the nation's drug crop dependency, and has now broadened its scope to focus on security and development.

Among its findings, the group has found a strong Taliban presence in Wardag province just 45 minutes from Kabul, suggesting the insurgency is not only a problem in the southern Kandahar province.

It also points out that a recent assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai, and a bold jailbreak in Kandahar that freed 1,200 prisoners including 400 members of the Taliban, show the insurgency is still growing strong.

The group finds that root causes in all three of the countries, such as the prevalence of young, unemployed and angry men in all three countries, need to be addressed if progress is to occur.

Canada Country Director Alma Bawar Zakhilwal said unemployment contributes so directly to the insurgency that it must be addressed as a security issue.

"If we employ these people, bring them to our tents, we support them, we give them jobs, then we are cutting the supplies off for the insurgency, and then we can defeat the insurgency," he told CTV's Canada AM.

Optics are also important. The report states that the international community must be seen to improve everyday life through humanitarian aid and repatriating refugees.

The report also states that in the event NGOs cannot deliver humanitarian aid, the military must be empowered to meet the need.

"International involvement must cease to be associated with aggressive military tactics or oil exploitation but instead with positive action as defined by the Iraqis themselves," the document said in a section entitled "The Way Forward."

Zakhilwal, who was raised in Afghanistan, agreed development and aid must be a major priority.

"We need to focus more and give more attention to the development side and try to win the hearts and minds of the local people," he said.

"We're not doing good right now. We are losing the support of the local people and that is because we see in Kandahar if the Taliban can succeed in breaking into a prison and freeing thousands of people, they are not alone."

The report states that disenfranchised population groups must be given an outlet to voice their frustrations, as well as a firm prospect of employment.

The report finds that in Afghanistan and Iraq the War on Terror is deepening, and in Somalia it is considered chronic. The current approach isn't working, Senlis says, and a "New Global Security Architecture" is needed.

"The current approach is ill-equipped to deal with these problems, and simply cannot cope should another global security crisis require action." the report states.

"A new approach to addressing security challenges is desperately required, and must contain broad measures of success."

Those measures of success should include the following, Senlis suggests:

Stability: Winning the hearts and minds of locals and helping them to achieve sustainable peace will provide a stable platform from which to re-orientate the international community's interventions.
Prosperity: Field research shows that unemployment and limited livelihood opportunities represent two of the biggest drivers of conflict among young, disenfranchised populations.
Friendly political and economic climate: The population in conflict theatres must be actively opting in to the international community as a politically and economically friendly member.
"In the new Global Security Architecture we need to retain the classic instruments military power and intelligence, but also consider non-military tools as security instruments with the same political and financial support as military and intelligence endeavours."

That would include increased employment, capital investment, foreign investment, human rights initiatives, civil society and an independent media.

Earlier in June, the federal government announced its priorities for Afghanistan as well as three key "signature projects."

"Our ultimate goal remains the same -- to leave Afghanistan to Afghans, in a country that is better governed, more peaceful, and more secure," said Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister David Emerson in a statement.

"What is new is that we will significantly concentrate Canadian efforts and resources on the areas most likely to help us reach that goal."

The key projects include the following initiatives:

The rehabilitation of the Dahla Dam and its related irrigation and canal system in order to promote agriculture and generate jobs.
The construction, expansion and repair of 50 schools.
Expanded support of polio immunization in Kandahar in hopes to eradicate the disease in Afghanistan by the end of 2009.
 

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From Senlis' web page, full report here (.pdf)

Highlights of Executive Summary:  "....Field research in three War on Terror theatres has demonstrated either deepening (Afghanistan, Iraq) or chronic (Somalia) conflicts. The current approach is ill-equipped to deal with these problems, and simply cannot cope should another global security crisis require action. A new approach to addressing security challenges is desperately required, and must contain broad measures of success.

Successful resolution of the multi-faceted problems thrown up by conflicts in the current War on Terror theatres requires nuanced policies aligned with defined measures of success. Creating the stability and prosperity required to establish a politically and economically friendly member of the international community are core elements of making a success of post-conflict states.

  1. Stability: The first measure of success in any conflict is stable government. Winning the hearts and minds of locals and helping them to achieve sustainable peace will provide a stable platform from which to re-orientate the international community’s interventions.
  2. Prosperity (Employment, Development and achievement of Millennium Development Goals): Field research shows that unemployment and limited livelihood opportunities represent two of the biggest drivers of conflict among young, disenfranchised populations. Employment development and achievement of Millennium Development Goals must be viewed as security instruments.
  3. Friendly political and economic climate: A third measure of success is that the population in conflict theatres actively opting in to the international community as a politically and economically friendly member.

(....)

The ongoing mismanagement of the conflicts in three of the main War on Terror conflict theatres indicates that the current global architecture for conflict resolution and prevention will not easily facilitate the achievement of such measures of success. In fact, creating and implementing a ‘Door Number Three’ for Iraq (as well as Afghanistan and Somalia) would mean struggling against the current architecture. As such, there is a need for a New Global Architecture.

(....)

This new system of conflict management must plan for the worst situation while hoping for the best. There must be sufficient contingency planning to handle with the most complex of security challenges. Unfortunately, the present infrastructure cannot respond effectively to what we have now, let alone future worst case scenarios.

In the new Global Security Architecture we need to retain the classic instruments of military power and intelligence, but also consider non-military tools as security instruments with the same political and financial support as military and intelligence endeavours: employment, achieving the Millennium Development Goals, capital investment, targeted foreign direct investment, human rights, civil society and an independent media.

This New Architecture must provide a structure for intervention as a threat containment tool. It must establish a pathway to security by minimising and eradicating current threats, preventing them from escalating into full-blown insurgencies, and starving militant Islamist groups of the oxygen they need to survive. "

 
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