NEW DELHI, India - Canada's defence minister says he doesn't see the two latest suicide bombings in Afghanistan targeting Canadian soldiers as an escalation in Taliban activity.
Speaking from New Delhi, India, where he is leading a trade mission, Peter MacKay says it's just another example of Taliban determination to disrupt rebuilding efforts.
Today's suicide bomb attack on a Canadian convoy near Spin Boldak killed 38 civilians and wounded four Canadian soldiers.
The marketplace bombing came one day after Afghanistan's deadliest insurgent attack, which killed at least 100 people watching a dog fight near Kandahar City.
MacKay says he's not blind to the fact that these types of attacks have an impact on the perception of people "back home."
But he says Canada must remain resilient in turning back what he called "these insidious tactics" used by the Taliban.
As the guy in charge, MacKay should be working with facts and not fantasies. Our soldiers lives depend on the Minister's judgment. How can MacKay ignore facts while putting our troops in harm's way?
The facts regarding whether or not there is an escalation of violence and insurgent activity are not open to conjecture and wishful thinking.
Insurgent attacks in Afghanistan have climbed 64 per cent in the past year, from about 4,500 incidents in 2006 to about 7,400 in 2007, according to NATO statistics released yesterday in response to a query from The Globe and Mail.
Those numbers include insurgent attacks, ambushes, small or heavy arms fire, rocket or mortar fire, improvised explosive blasts, mine strikes and surface-to-air attacks.
Such violence has been concentrated in the south, causing a rising discontent among the tribal elders of Kandahar who serve as a fulcrum of power in the southern provinces.
(Globe & Mail)
138 Kandahar civilians were killed in a two day period and despite the statistics, the man in charge of our troops denies there is an escalation. Another suicide bomb killed one person in Kandahar again today.
Catnip points out that MacKay's assessment is at odds with a top NATO commander. She also posits a few reasons why MacKay said what he said. One idea is that MacKay is attempting "to lull Canadians into a false sense of security while the Harper gov't plans to extend the combat mission."
I can't buy that one. MacKay just ain't smart enough to come up with that. Although... If one of Catnip's other choices ("because that's what Stephen Harper told him to say") is correct, MacKay needn't be any smarter than the average ventriloquist's dummy.
He may be smarter than a wooden headed mannequin but he's still lacking. MacKay is not even smart enough to tell the difference between humans and dogs. That level of intelligence disqualifies him for the job of Central Nova dogcatcher. With all due respect to canine control officers, a man unqualified to be dogcatcher should not be making decisions that affect the safety and well-being of our dedicated men and women serving in the Canadian Forces.
MacKay must resign. For the good of the Forces.
The Globe story I cited above is about a meeting of Kandahar tribal leaders. They're on the ground in Kandahar where our troops are dying. They can see the obvious facts that Peter MacKay cannot. The tribal leaders say we're failing.
An unusual gathering of 27 powerful tribal elders is scheduled tomorrow in Kandahar city to approve a seven-point manifesto, which starts with a blunt declaration: "The problems are now so great, it's impossible for the government to control them," according to the draft text. "The people need to stand up."The Kandahar Governor was blaming Canadian troops yesterday for the Spin Boldak marketplace bombing. That's the same governor who was recently accused of personally torturing prisoners, by the way. The other bigwig in Kandahar is ex-CIA operative and current Afghan president Hamid Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai. He's been linked to the upper echelons of the opium trade. The Afghan National Army and police forces are so corrupt that they routinely release captured Taliban fighters after being bribed with as little as $20.
"The foreign soldiers aren't helping, they're behaving like an occupying force," said Haji Mohammed Essa, Kandahar's former attorney-general and a leading organizer of the tribal gathering.
"You kicked out a government that called itself a legitimate government, but you didn't bring any better government."
The new council of elders does not intend to position itself as a rival to the existing provincial council, Mr. Essa said, but others involved in the project said it's an effort to circumvent a government that isn't working.
I wonder why those tribal leaders think we've installed a government that's no better than the Taliban.