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February 27, 2009
Q&A: Canada’s role in the war in Afghanistan

Canadian troops have served alongside Americans and others in Afghanistan for years, with 2,700 currently posted primarily in Kandahar.

But while some in the U.S. have labeled the war in Afghanistan “the right war,” the conflict has been a source of strong debate in Canada, amid concerns that Canada has abandoned a more traditional peacekeeping role. The combat in Afghanistan represents some of the most intense fighting Canadian forces have seen in decades, since the country fought in Korea.

Since the beginning of the war, 108 Canadian soldiers have died — a relatively high casualty rate given the size of Canada’s troop presence in Afghanistan.

Canada is scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2011, and about 65 percent of Canadians support the planned withdrawal.’s weekly radio show explored Canada’s role in Afghanistan and the debate over Canada’s role in peacemaking versus peacekeeping. Thank you for your questions.

Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosted a panel of guests:

Nipa Banerjee worked for the Canadian International Development Agency for 33 years, heading aid efforts in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2006 and working in a number of other countries. Her research interests include reconstruction, development and aid effectiveness in post-conflict countries, with a special focus on Afghanistan, where she travels frequently. She is currently a professor at the University of Ottawa.

Terry Glavin is a freelance journalist, who recently spent a month reporting in Afghanistan. He is a co-founder of the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee, a multi-partisan group of Canadians dedicated to solidarity with the Afghan people. He is the editor of Transmontanus Books in Vancouver, and is an adjunct professor of creative writing at the University of British Columbia.

Ron Hoffmann is Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan. Prior to his appointment as ambassador in Sept. 2008, he was deputy head of mission at the Embassy of Canada in Kabul. He has also served abroad in The Hague, Johannesburg, Beijing and London.

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Terry Glavin is a vulgar opportunist and a complete fraud; he’d be just another cow in the reactionary herd if it weren’t for his constant (incessant!) braying that he’s “left”. He spent his whole life writing disaffected kitsch fiction to a few of his flaky-coast friends, then one day in 2005 recast himself as a leftist intellectual of international affairs. Read his blog, read what he passes off as informed comment. He’s a disgrace and a joke. You’d never have heard his name if it weren’t for his perfect re-chanting of the Canadian pysops line. A pure dilettante.


Regarding the post about the “news blackout on Gaza” — if not covering Gaza all the time every day is a news blackout, then it’s because everyone is out to get the Palestinians. Otherwise, there might be other stories of interest involving the worlds 192 member states and various sub-state groups. Shocking how Worldfocus doesn’t spend every episode on Gaza…


Why the news blackout on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza?

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