After spending five weeks as a special envoy in Afghanistan last year, Radio-Canada reporter Alexandra Szacka said the Canadian army is still needed there. According to the Téléjournal reporter, Canada’s support is necessary to bring security and to make international cooperation possible. She added, “Afghanistan is not Iraq yet.”
The reporter spoke about her experience at Université de Montréal last Friday for a series entitled ‘L’humanitaire en crise’. Embedded with Canadian military forces, Szacka traveled alone and undercover with a translator and cameraman. She produced two thirds of her reports outside the military framework in order to be free to discuss any subject she wanted.
Szacka called the Canadian team’s work “admirable.” The role of the Canadian army is not to solve the problems for the Afghans, but to show them how to solve them themselves, Szacka said.
Szacka said there exists an equilibrium between military and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan. Security is the most important issue and the reason Canada’s presence is required in Kandahar. The province is considered the entry point for the Taliban.
For this reason, Szacka said we’re “lying to ourselves if we think that we can bring the soldiers home… The Taliban are ready to take control over Afghanistan anytime Canada leaves.”
According to Szacka, the Taliban are well organized and have very efficient communications systems. During her last 10 days in Kandahar, there was one attack per day on the coalition forces and two Canadian soldiers were killed. Szacka said she felt danger and admitted it limited her ability to do her job as a journalist. Canada’s war in Afghanistan is not an occupation war for Szacka. Rather, it is a war against the Taliban; a war to bring peace and security to the Afghan population. Szacka compared it to the war the Allied forces led against Germany to free Europe from the Nazis’ influence.
Since 2001, Canada has been committed along with NATO’s coalition forces to eradicate the terrorist organization Taliban from Afghanistan. The coalition forces are now also faced with rebuilding a country devastated by years of civil war.