A woman from a civil society group gives a small Afghanistan
flag to an Afghan National Army soldier at the area where the Loya Jirga, or grand council, is holding a committee session in Kabul
Major General Dean Milner is responsible for the NATO training of Afghan security forces. He was the leader of Canada's combat mission in Kandahar three years back in 2010-11. He reacted to a recent claim by former journalist Graeme Smith from the Globe and Mail that Canada left a 'mess' in Afghanistan. Maj Gen Milner has said that the claims are untrue.
When Canada went to Kandahar, schools got blown up, Mr Milner said. On the contrary, those schools are in a running condition now and about 10 million children are getting educated, he informed. Canada has been instrumental in building up classrooms which are educating girls even though the Taliban are totally against it. Canada has also made it possible for millions of children getting vaccinated. Mr Milner informed that there is plenty of food in Afghanistan now.
Mr Milner may have known Afghanistan as a country more than any other soldier from the coalition army. His conviction that the country has significantly improved comes from what he has seen. He said that the Taliban were not allowed to grow strong in the country. Even though the Taliban do attack off and on, the Afghan National Police, along with the Afghan National Army, have managed to control the highways, he said.
Mr Milner also said that the north part of Afghanistan was comparatively quieter than the rest of it. There is just a single attack in Kabul in the past 120 days, he informed. Although some fighting is still going on in Kandahaar, Canada helped Afghanistan 'hold the fort'.
The Taliban have regularly threatened to close the schools. They have also demanded money persistently. The Afghans reacted to it in Panjwali and fought the insurgents in 2012. This has been an inspiration in the entire country now. According to Mr Milner, the Afghan National Army is fighting against the Taliban under the leadership of General Ahmed Habibi with just a few foreign advisers. They have become independent, and Canadians helped them become so, he said.
To contact the editor, e-mail: