The Canadian Council of Churches
For presentation to the House of Commons Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan (AFGH)
This letter and the accompanying report were prepared by Mike Hogeterp (Christian Reformed Church in North America), Remmelt Hummelen, John Lewis (KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives) and Ernie Regehr (Project Ploughshares) on behalf of the Canadian Council of Churches. It was presented to the House of Commons Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan.
In counselling Canadian promotion of Afghan reconciliation efforts, we affirm the fundamental principle that reconciliation, both at the sub-state level and in pursuit of a high-level political settlement, be Afghan-owned and led. But we do not assume Afghan-led to mean led by the Government of Afghanistan. The Afghan government and its supporting international forces have been drawn into an entrenched civil war. The Government of Afghanistan must therefore be part of reconciliation efforts, but not the manager or custodian of the process. Part of the responsibility of the international community is to work with Afghans in and beyond the government to develop a trusted process through which reconciliation and negotiation efforts can begin.