For a lot of them, it was the defining skilled expertise of their lives.
But Canada’s legacy in Afghanistan can also be one thing deeply private for the greater than 140 Canadian former diplomats, help staff and cops who’ve signed an open letter urging the worldwide group — Canada included — to not abandon Afghanistan as its tentative peace course of drags on.
Among the signatories is former Conservative cupboard minister Chris Alexander, who was additionally the nation’s ambassador in Afghanistan and a UN consultant within the war-weary nation. He was joined by one other former ambassador, William Crosbie, and Canada’s former head of help and improvement Nipa Banerjee.
“This letter’s signatories wish to remind Canadians that Afghanistan’s absence in the recent past from our news headlines should not mean its absence from our hearts,” mentioned the letter, a duplicate of which was obtained by CBC News.
“Afghanistan is no longer a topic of political debate in Canada. Yet, we think it is essential to remind our fellow citizens and our political representatives that our continuing engagement does not go unnoticed, and we should remain engaged.”
‘We mustn’t hand over’
Alexander mentioned the plight of the struggle torn nation is “intimate and personal” for a lot of who served there as a result of, to start with, it represented a lot of what the world wished to perform — peace, equality and the elimination of poverty.
“We mustn’t give up. These are the kinds of things we set out to do in the 21st century,” mentioned Alexander, who served as Canada’s ambassador in Kabul between 2003 and 2005 earlier than turning into the United Nations deputy particular consultant within the nation.
“I think it is personal for many of us who gave a good portion of our professional lives to it. It is certainly personal for the Afghans.”
The letter, which was introduced final week to the prime minister’s workplace, is in search of the broader “endorsement” of the Canadian public.
“We are not an organized, registered group, but [we] are bound by our common interest to see the Afghan people achieve peace,” Banerjee informed CBC News.
“To some extent, it is an issue of passion. I am not able to explain to you why, as opposed to working in other countries, there is a special passion that grows about Afghanistan.”
Although the letter has been within the planning levels because the late summer season, the plea comes within the rapid wake of a Trump administration resolution final week to additional draw down U.S. forces in each Iraq and Afghanistan, and on the cusp of a serious help donor convention in Geneva this week.
The letter additionally launched as different international locations, notably Australia, grappled with the bloody legacy of the intractable guerilla struggle that has dragged on for nearly 20 years.
Peace negotiations, now happening in Doha, Qatar between the Afghan authorities and representatives of the Taliban, have stalled and violence is raging throughout the nation.
“Our specific objective is to endorse an inclusive peace process,” mentioned the letter, which went on to state that it’s crucial for “the international community to not abandon Afghans as they navigate the difficult path to a better future.”
Alexander mentioned that is a vital level, as a result of “the peace talks are not succeeding.”
And whereas the issues of Afghanistan could seem to pale as compared with the worldwide pandemic and the political fissures within the United States, he mentioned, Canada put “an enormous of energy into stabilizing the country” and it shouldn’t be forgotten.
Canadian troops spent over a dozen years within the nation, preventing a brutal guerrilla struggle with Taliban extremists. The fight operations, and subsequent coaching mission, price the lives of 158 Canadian troopers.
Among the civilian casualties was Glynn Berry, a seasoned diplomat who was killed in a suicide bombing in Kandadar in 2006.