Thank you very much.
It’s a great honour to be offered the chance to return to Afghanistan – this time to tackle a story that has preoccupied me for years.
Like dozens of other Canadian journalists, I went to Kandahar on assignment to follow Canada’s troops. It was a daunting and often tragic story that frequently involved writing of Canadian lives lost.
But there is another story out there, beyond the wire, which hasn’t been told. While soldiers fought in Kandahar, Canada was pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into rebuilding Afghanistan. Our aid money was used to repair schools, train teachers, build roads and mentor Afghan civil servants.
Some of that money has yielded tremendous results for the people of Afghanistan; other projects have failed. There has been waste and mismanagement. Many Afghans say they have never been more discouraged about their future.
I’ll be returning to Afghanistan in a couple of weeks to find out what our aid money has accomplished and what it has failed to accomplish. I don’t think this evaluation will be easy. Other donor nations such as Britain and the United States have begun public hearings and launched studies to account for their reconstruction money, not so in Canada.
This accounting is crucial if we are ever to understand our legacy in Afghanistan. Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to chronicle this important part of our history.
2011 Michener-Deacon Fellowship recipient
Michener Awards ceremony
June 14, 2011