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The following talk was given on 21 July 2018 to a two-day seminar at York University entitled “Historical perspectives on united fronts against fascism and the far right.” read full story / add a comment
central asia / imperialism / war / non-anarchist press Friday December 17, 2010 07:05 by John Riddell
Mike Skinner, co-founder of the Afghanistan-Canadian Research Group and a researcher at the York Centre for International and Security Studies in Toronto, believes a simple question is being left out of the debate about Canada's continued military involvement in Afghanistan: ”Why are we there?” It is a no-brainer to ask this but there are no easy answers it appears.
To understand the goals of Canada's role, he said, we need to examine the forms of intervention under current consideration as alternatives to Ottawa's combat mission in Kandahar. During extensive travels in Afghanistan in 2007, Skinner studied firsthand Canada's intervention, assisted by Afghan-Canadian reporter Hamayon Rastgar, and has written widely on this question. The two men formed, along with fellow-researcher Angela Joya, the Afghanistan-Canadian Research Group.
When considering the example of Canada's supposed “humanitarian” aid projects, which the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois propose as an alternative to a military mission, Skinner emphasises the limitations of the approach and the bad feelings it can engender.
“Canadian aid agencies in Afghanistan have to follow the orders of the military,” he says. “Aid is meted out as rewards to co-operative communities and withdrawn from others as punishment.”
It was not always the case. “Canadian development and aid agencies – like Care Canada and the Red Cross – had been working in Afghanistan, through all the upheavals in government, the Soviet occupation, and then, after 1992, the Mujahedeen period, and, after 1996, under the Taliban regime. They operated in very difficult conditions, negotiating with the government in power,” Skinner says. read full story / add a comment