H/T to Small Dead Animals
Caution: this is a long article crammed full of facts; facts which will contradict the ‘stories’ being put about by politicians, journalists and anti-military academics and ‘peace activists.’ It might be dangerous, even subversive because it may cause some readers to actually understand what is happening in Afghanistan. It may shatter some belief systems because the cold, hard facts are at odds with the prevailing 'wisdom' in Canada.
A few days ago The Ruxted Group provided a rather bleak assessment of the likely consequences of a precipitous (early 2009) Canadian withdrawal from combat operations in Afghanistan.
Today we offer a counterpoint: a catalogue of the ‘good news’ items which, we fear, are not sufficiently ‘newsworthy’ and fail to make it on to our TV screens and, therefore, do not ‘inform’ Canadian public opinion. It is a long list but it barely scratches the surface. There is so much aid and development going on that we are persuaded that journalists and NGO workers and officials must be tripping over the projects. Even in deadly dangerous Kandahar where, admittedly, less is being done because the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghans National Police (ANP), supported by Canadian combat troops, have not, yet, managed to bring sufficient security to that province – not sufficient, yet, to satisfy the ‘requirements’ of the NGOs who remain hard at work in the relatively peaceful North.
At the national level the NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) development work has ensured that:
1. Millions of girls are back in school with 400,000 new female students starting school for the first time this year;
2. Over 100,000 women benefited from micro finance loans to set up their own business;
3. Over a quarter of parliamentarians are women;
4. Over 7 million girls and boys are in school or higher education;
5. 83% of the population now has access to medical facilities, compared to 9 percent in 2004;
6. 76% of children under the age of five have been immunized against childhood diseases;
7. More than 4000 medical facilities opened since 2004;
8. Over 600 midwives were trained and deployed in every province of Afghanistan;
9. GDP growth estimates of between12-14% for the current year;
10. Government revenues increased by around 25% from 2005/06 to 2006/07;
11. Income per capita of $355, compared to $180 three years ago;
12. Afghanistan is one of the fastest growing economies in South-East Asia;
13. Over 4000 km of roads have been completed;
14. Work has begun on 20,000 new homes for Afghans returning to Kabul;
15. Over 1 billion square metres (roughly 32 km X 32 km) of mine contaminated land cleared;
16. 10 universities are operating around the country, against one (barely functioning) under the Taliban; and
17. 17,000 communities benefited from development programmes such as wells, schools, hospitals and roads through the Government’s National Solidarity Program (NSP).
Most of those projects have some, often substantial, Canadian components: money, management and personnel. Some, like (13) new roads and (17) new wells and schools, are the work-a-day projects of the Canadian soldiers in the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) who are managing or doing the building and rebuilding using funds provided by the Canadian International Development Agency.
Further, the creation of the sorts of institutions which will make it possible for Afghans, themselves, to address their own political problems in their own ways – but free of dangerous fundamentalist propaganda – is also underway in the form of communications and information technology development which facilitates the free exchange of ideas and information:
18. 10% of Afghans now own a mobile phone, compared to 2 lines per 1000 people in 2001;
19. 150 cities across Afghanistan now have access to mobile phone networks and internet provider services; and
20. 7 national TV stations (6 private); numerous radio networks, plus a diverse and increasingly robust and professional print media are up and running.
That's 20 out of a much longer list of ISAF projects.
CANADIAN (CIDA) PROJECTS
There are some important Canadian projects underway too – not all of them in Kandahar. Examples, from long, long lists, include:
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I would go out on a limb here and say that we're never going to be hearing Jackama Bin-Layton talking about any of this as it doesn't suit his anti-Canadian socialist mind numbing agenda.