Defence Minister Peter MacKay warned Monday that growing uncertainty in Pakistan could send refugees into neighbouring Afghanistan and increase the risks facing Canadian soldiers there.
MacKay made the comments Monday during his first visit to Afghanistan since taking the post of defence minister in mid-August.
Between two and four million Afghan refugees live in camps just inside the Pakistan border, MacKay said.Well, as we like to say around here, and with increasing frequency it seems these days...no sh*#, Sherlock! The futility of our 2,500 military component over there is underscored dramatically by these developments. And not to mention that the current situation, even without the spectre of more refugees, is presently unmanageable:
He said significant turmoil in Pakistan could cause a flood of unemployed, angry people returning to their homeland where they would be easy targets for Taliban recruiters.
"This is something both countries have been trying to manage for some time," explained MacKay, shortly after addressing Canadian troops at Kandahar Airfield.
The concern, MacKay said, is the number of recruits the Taliban could draw from refugee camps.
Security and surveillance along the border has been boosted, but the wild, mountainous frontier is difficult to patrol and an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people cross the border daily.Such factors must be weighing heavily with the Dutch right now too as they imminently debate their pull out time frame in the next month and a half.
The facts on the ground continue to overwhelm any political management by the Conservative government...and how's that panel going, John Manley?