The Government of Canada releases its sixth quarterly report on Canada's engagement in Afghanistan

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(No. 380 - December 10, 2009 - 9:45 p.m. EST) The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade, Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Afghanistan, today released the Government of Canada's sixth quarterly report on Canada's engagement in Afghanistan. The report covers the period from July 1 to September 30, 2009.

"Canada's efforts in Afghanistan contributed to tangible results for Afghans during the quarter," said Minister Day. "Approximately six million Afghan children are enrolled in school, of whom two million are girls. Through Canada's signature project on education, construction was completed on seven new schools in Kandahar for a total of 12 to date, and another 21 schools are under construction."

Canada's quarterly reports on Afghanistan provide an honest and frank account to Parliament and Canadians on efforts made in advancing Canada's six priorities for its engagement in Afghanistan. Highlights of the sixth quarterly report include the August 20 presidential and provincial council elections and the arrival of a significant number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

"While the electoral process involved considerable challenges, it is important to remember how far Afghanistan has come since the fall of the Taliban regime," said Minister Day. "This was the first Afghan-led vote in over three decades. Millions of Afghans voted in these elections."

Progress was also made in a number of key areas, including the following:

-The Afghan National Army has already exceeded the 2011 target by shouldering a greater responsibility for security in Kandahar City and its populated approaches, executing 80 percent of security operations alone and leading more than 70 percent.

-In September, over 880,000 children across southern and western Afghanistan were vaccinated against polio.

-As of this quarter, more than 500 Afghans in key districts of Kandahar have received microfinance loans. The target under this priority has already been exceeded.

Alongside international allies, Canada is in Afghanistan to help Afghans rebuild their country as a more stable and self-sufficient society.

For more information, see the sixth quarterly report Canada's Engagement in Afghanistan.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade
and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada