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News and Views

International Community Continues to Show Strong Support for Afghanistan

This month numerous nations pledged their support for Afghanistan’s reconstruction effort. Following the eighth EU-India Summit in New Delhi on November 30, India and the European Union (EU) expressed their strong support for a sovereign, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan. In a joint statement, they reaffirmed their sustained commitment to assist the Afghan government in the stabilization and rebuilding of Afghanistan, working within the framework of the Afghanistan Compact.

In an interview with CanWest News Service this month, the commander of the Canadian Forces mission in Kandahar said that Canada is winning the war in Afghanistan and is making significant progress in reconstruction efforts. Lt.-Gen. Michel Gauthier, who heads the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, said, "From a military perspective in the south of Afghanistan, in Kandahar specifically, we are winning."

Additionally, Canada is considering a substantial aid infusion yet to help with de-mining efforts in Afghanistan. The funding boost could reach $50 million and will be announced to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention, that abolishes antipersonnel landmines. Since 2002 almost 66,000 stockpiled mines had been destroyed in Afghanistan.

The Dutch government announced that it would extend its NATO troop deployment in Afghanistan until 2010. In response to a request from NATO, the Dutch cabinet agreed to retain the Netherlands' lead role -- both militarily and in reconstruction -- in Uruzgan province for an additional two years, despite political pressure at home. Currently, the Dutch have more than 1,300 soldiers in Uruzgan, with an additional 350 in Kabul and Kandahar. "Today the Dutch cabinet decided that we will make a new contribution to the ISAF mission in Uruzgan for a period of two years," said Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

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