Afghanistan: March 2, 2002


While the Canadian government debated on whether or not to hand over the Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners, the Canadian troops of Joint Task Force 2 (which had been operating with US forces in Afghanistan for several weeks) turned over their prisoners to US control. Defense Minister Eggleton was aware of the transfer even as Prime Minister Chretien was publicly stating that the policy on prisoners was "still under review". The Canadians later said that the US had assured them that the prisoners would be treated humanely under international law, and that the Canadian Charter of Rights (which would prohibit extraditing a prisoner to a jurisdiction with the death penalty) did not apply to persons captured in third countries by the Canadian military.--Stephen V Cole

Foreign aid in the form of food and other goods is arriving in Afghanistan, but not cash. And police and soldiers who ware technically on government payrolls are only receiving food, not money. And these guys are getting angry. Foreign donors are reluctant to send cash until they have systems in place to keep track of it. No one has any illusions about how corrupt warlords and government officials can be. If there are no financial controls, much, if not most, of the cash will disappear before reaching the people it is intended for. 

Turkey has resisted offers to replace Britain as the leader of the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. The problem is mainly money, and not knowing how long, and expensive, the peacekeeping operation will take. The Turks are also concerned about how much military and financial support they might get, or not get, from the United States.


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