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Help without arms and troops

Letter to the Editor, 8 August 2008

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said last week that “Canadian troops are not in Afghanistan to guard a new natural gas pipeline,” but rather to “help the people of Afghanistan to help themselves.”

On the other hand, the Agency Co-ordinating Body for Afghan Relief – an umbrella group representing some 100 aid groups and NGOs – just declared that violence is at its worst level in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. The agency stated that “some 1,000 civilians were killed this year and their deaths were caused mainly by insurgents, but also by air strikes by international forces.”

A reported 260 civilians were killed in July, which is more than any other month since 2001, the statement said.

Given these facts, I am sure there are other ways to “help people to help themselves.”

What about real aid – without weapons and troops – to help Afghanistan and many other countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America rebuild their national agriculture to face the food crisis?

Bruno Marquis
Gatineau, Quebec

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