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Afghan children in Kabul receive educational support from Le Pelican, a MCC partner organization that provides educational, recreational, vocational and medical support. MCC

Afghan children in Kabul receive educational support from Le Pelican, a MCC partner organization that provides educational, recreational, vocational and medical support. MCC

MCC raises concerns about Canada's Afghan mission

Gladys Terichow
April 9, 2008

Lasting and sustainable peace in Afghanistan cannot be achieved through war, says MCC Canada executive director Don Peters.

A letter from MCC to Mennonite and Brethren in Christ congregations in Canada, raises concerns about Canada’s military role in the Afghan mission and urges congregations to advocate for non-military means of peace building.

Canada, says Peters, has given limited encouragement to diplomatic and political solutions and to grassroots peace building initiatives.

He would like to see congregations encourage the Canadian government to change course and give its greatest energy and attention to supporting a comprehensive peace process involving diplomacy, dialogue and peace building initiatives at all levels of society.

MCC’s long-term experiences in areas of conflict around the world show that lasting peace and reconciliation can only happen as people on all sides of the conflict are given opportunity to voice their grievances and play a part in resolving these grievances. This dialogue needs to include people at the grassroots level, as well as at the political and diplomatic levels.

“To call for peaceful initiatives in Afghanistan at this present time is not to say that we have all the answers to the ongoing violence,” says the MCC letter. “It is to say war is not the answer. It is to say that Christ calls us to pray for, witness to, and speak out for a better way.”

Esther Epp-Tiessen, MCC Canada’s peace ministries coordinator, says despite NATO’s efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan there is growing consensus that the Taliban insurgency has gained strength over the past few years.

The most recent UN Secretary-General’s report for Afghanistan, released March 10, 2008, provides evidence of an increasingly coordinated insurgency. The report states the last few months have seen major suicide bombing attacks as well as increased attacks against international humanitarian workers delivering food aid.

The MCC letter is being distributed to congregations by the provincial MCC offices. The letter, along with related resources, is posted at mcc.org/canada/peace. More information is available from your provincial MCC offices.