Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

February 03, 2010 16:46 ET

Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute: Canada Has Lost Sight of Afghanistan

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 3, 2010) - The Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute released a short article today by Derek Burney, "Afghanistan: Out of Sight…?".

Derek Burney served on the Independent Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan that produced the "Manley Report" in 2008 containing recommendations to Parliament on Canada's future course in Afghanistan. He also served as Canada's Ambassador to Washington, culminating a distinguished thirty-year career in the Foreign Service. Currently he is Senior Strategic Advisor to Ogilvy Renault LLP.

In this hard-hitting article, Mr. Burney notes that some Canadians are defining the end of Canada's combat role in Afghanistan in 2011 as a complete withdrawal. While Canada's future role in a country into which we have poured both blood and treasure should be of paramount concern, debate and analysis over this has been virtually non-existent.

There are very serious questions around what a full withdrawal would actually mean, but instead Canadians have been focused on the dated and peripheral issue of detainees. He asks compelling questions such as: What will happen to our development programs? How will a withdrawal affect our relations with key allies? Are we actually rethinking our military strategy based on experience? These are all questions that remain unanswered but will affect the NATO mission, the Canadian Forces, and Canada's international standing. Mr. Burney also argues that a lack of serious debate combined with an exaggeration of the importance of the detainee issue undermines the people's trust in what we are doing in Afghanistan and why.

The complete article, "Afghanistan: Out of Sight…?" is available online at

CDFAI is a "think tank" pursuing authoritative research and new ideas aimed at ensuring Canada has a respected and influential voice in the international arena.

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