Experts are coming to WLU in Waterloo this Monday to discuss the progress in Afghanistan!
This looks interesting... A public lecture on the effectiveness of military-driven reconstruction efforts will be held Monday and guests attending the conference include representatives from the United Nations, NATO, the Canadian Forces and non-governmental organizations. Yes - they will be at the WLU on Monday, May 14th in Waterloo, ON! This will enable us to better understand to our committment in Afghanistan... and a chance to ask questions and meet with other military families! Here's the info:
Monday, May 14th
from 7 p.m.
Leading international experts will gather next week at Wilfrid Laurier University to discuss the effectiveness of military-driven reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.
About 30 top representatives -- including one of the world's top scholars on Afghanistan -- will attend the two-day conference focused on appraising the role of Provincial Reconstruction Teams.
There are 24 such teams in Afghanistan, including a Canadian one based in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar City.
The teams provide humanitarian aid and security, with soldiers performing front-line duties including training Afghan police and guiding community infrastructure projects.
"One of the reasons for this conference is to produce some solid information on what's been accomplished in the Canadian sector and what's being accomplished in other sectors as well," said Terry Copp, director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies.
The assessment is an important one, he said, because the 2009 exit date for Canadian troops is approaching.
"Surely what we have to do between now and 2009 is learn as much as we can about what is actually happening on the ground and how much success is actually being achieved."
The conference coincides with ongoing discussions in the House of Commons about the mistreatment of Afghan prisoners.
Last week, the federal government amended its prisoner-transfer agreement after evidence surfaced that some prisoners were being abused by Afghan police.
Copp said the conference will touch on questions of policy related to the recent controversy, including how other nations handle prisoners and whether NATO should be building its own facilities to detain prisoners.
"None of us are politicians and we're not interested in either a partisan position either for the government or against the government," Copp said. "What we would be interested in is what the best practices are."
"One issue will be underpinning everything we're discussing is just how important Canada's deployment in Afghanistan actually is," he said. "It's important to distinguish the debate over Afghanistan from the debate over Iraq."
Experts attending the conference include representatives from the United Nations, NATO, the Canadian Forces and non-governmental organizations.
Members of the public are invited to a lecture, Afghanistan and After: Future Foreign Policies, on Monday evening.
"The military itself is not a good instrument for nation-building," he said. "And without nation-building and state-building, the initial security achievements can be reversed. And that's the difficulty we now face in Afghanistan."
The conference is the fourth in a series on Afghanistan, but the first to examine issues of human security, economy and development.
Experts will attend a closed-door workshop Tuesday.
Their findings will be published in a report a few weeks after the conference.