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Canada could utilize private security partnerships in Afghanistan Print
Kevin Dougherty - CanWest News Service - April 25, 2007

QUEBEC - Canada is considering greater use of public-private partnerships to help bolster security both in Afghanistan and here at home, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day told a counterterrorism conference Tuesday.

Already Canadian troops in Afghanistan are housed at the Kandahar Airfield base run by Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, the company U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney used to run. 
Halliburton has been awarded close to $10 billion in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Asked what partnerships the Conservative government is considering in Canada, Day said the controversial formula, granting turn-key contracts to private-sector companies, could be used for Canada's border security.

"That's going to require massive infrastructure," Day told reporters. "To get the best system of delivery at the best price and there's a possibility for the private sector there."

In a wide-ranging speech to counterterrorism experts from Canada and the United States, Day recalled that western powers equipped Islamic fundamentalists in the 1980s with modern weapons to drive the Soviets from Afghanistan.

He said the Taliban, one of those Islamic groups armed by the West, "wanted a better country" and were "extremely zealous" in cracking down on corruption.

But drawing on the allegory of George Orwell's novel Animal Farm, Day said once in power the Taliban wielded "unbridled force."

"(They had) no understanding of the rule of law. No understanding of the need for an independent judiciary. Certainly no understanding of the democratic process where people can choose their leadership," Day said.

"These people have no compunction about machine-gunning, mowing down little children. They have no compunction about decapitating or hanging elderly women. They have no compunction about the most vicious types of torture you can imagine."

And he said Canadian and American troops, defending crews drilling wells and building schools, are shot at by the Taliban.

But he admitted there have been difficulties convincing the present Afghan authorities that Taliban prisoners, who are questioned up to 72 hours by Canadian troops before they're turned over to the Afghans, should have humane treatment.

"This is a priority for us," the minister said."In many ways this is a new area for them, the proper care and respect for prisoners, for instance.

"For some people, that's kind of a new concept.

"And they're learning it. It's not moving as quickly as we would have hoped, but progress is being made and we are going to continue to insist that human rights of everybody, even people who are being detained, are respected."

Day rejected Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's suggestion Canada bring its Taliban prisoners home to Canada.

"We want the Taliban to stay in Afghanistan," he said.
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