To the Editor,
Ottawa designated May 9 as the National Day Of Honour commemorating the end of Canada’s military commitment in Afghanistan; nobody should ever forget any of the Canadian Forces who fought there, nor their families waiting anxiously at home. The monetary cost of the mission has been estimated as around $18 billion; there were 40,026 military personnel deployed; 158 paid the ultimate sacrifice; 2,179 suffered physical wounds of varying degrees; an estimated 8,000 developed or will develop mental health conditions.
While never forgetting those people, we have a right to question the result of those years of war. Afghanistan is in a lengthy process of electing a new president, corruption is still rampant and there are still many warlords as powerful as they always were with heroin poppy cultivation in full bloom. The Taliban awaits the remaining stragglers of NATO personnel to vacate their country, dead set on reclaiming the positions they had before 9/11.
Was it really all worth it? Will the schools that were installed still be thriving in a few years time, and will women have some kind of rights?
The history of the Pashtun people, in what has become present-day Afghanistan, has always been about repelling those who dare invade. Chances are an Afghani Day of Honour would have a completely different meaning to ours in Canada.