Ottawa Citizen

Our troops in Afghanista­n also protect us

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Re: Afghanista­n: “ I want to know why we are there,” Oct. 23.

As a father, I also share the pain and tears of the parents of the soldiers who died in Afghanista­n and understand the painful question some of them have asked.

The question is a valid one. And President Hamid Karzai of Afghanista­n answered it addressing Canadians on Sept. 22: “ The tragedy of September 11 showed in a terrible way the flaws of the arguments against helping Afghanista­n. For one thing, it showed that, in fact, the cost of ignoring Afghanista­n was far higher than the cost of helping it.”

So true, and the militarily powerful western world is guilty of it.

President Karzai also said: “ If the greatness of a life is measured in deeds done for others, then Canada’s sons and daughters who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanista­n stand among the greatest of their generation … They have sacrificed so that we in Afghanista­n may have security, and they have sacrificed to ensure the continued safety of their fellow Canadians from terrorism.”

Their sacrifice has affected other parts of the world: to cap terrorism in Sri Lanka where the Tamil Tigers have links with al- Qaeda operating from Afghanista­n, in its financial, commercial and arms dealings; in India in its hot- button dispute in Kashmir, a major front for al- Qaeda affiliates and a panoply of domestic insurgenci­es; in Nepal, where Maoist terrorists have links with the Tamil Tigers who trained them in the art of suicide bombing, and in Indonesia, where al- Qaeda’s southeast Asian affiliates still remain in business despite the capture of its top operationa­l leader, Hambali.

As an adopted son of Canada, I am proud to witness the valour and sacrifice that my brothers and sisters make for the sake of world peace.

Our mission in Afghanista­n is the right mission for Canada. Through the strength and stability of our own peaceful society we can in good conscience, help Afghanista­n reclaim its own right to peace, and help in some way to rid terrorism, the scourge of the civilized society, from the rest of the world.

Otherwise, it will land on our doorstep without notice and catch us by surprise, as we are certainly not immune to it at all. ASOKA WEERASINGH­E,

Gloucester

 ?? WAYNE HIEBERT, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN ?? Asoka Weerasingh­e says Canada’s mission in Afghanista­n is painful and difficult, but essential both to help bring peace to that country and also to protect our own country from terrorism.
WAYNE HIEBERT, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN Asoka Weerasingh­e says Canada’s mission in Afghanista­n is painful and difficult, but essential both to help bring peace to that country and also to protect our own country from terrorism.

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