It looks like Harper is announcing $200 million in reconstruction aid to Afghanistan, in addition to $1 billion over 10 years.
While it is a pittance compared to how much we are spending on military combat over there, it is a least a step in the right direction. I believe we do have to have the troops there to protect any reconstruction projects taking place, and that removing the troops may leave a vacuum which would be filled by something that is not beneficial to the Afghan people in the future. I'm not sure that we need so much firepower though.
I do have the feeling that we are going to have to invest more money on reconstruction aid before we can say "mission accomplished." I mean, we can kill as much insurgents as we want in Afghanistan today, but if the root causes of insurgency are not kept to a minimum, then everything we have spent in Afghanistan, including the reconstruction aid, would have been a waste.
But I do have the feeling that it is the NDP's consistent position on Afghanistan, much as I'm not personally not sure about it, which lead to this announcement. As for the Liberals and Dion, well, they still can't decide on a position regarding Afghanistan.