Above: Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan Deborah Lyons speaks with The West Block host Tom Clark from a heavily-guarded Canadian embassy in Kabul about what lies ahead for the region.
KABUL — For more than 12 years, Canada had soldiers in harm’s way, trying to bring peace to a troubled Afghanistan.
Last week, the mission wrapped up with little fanfare, leaving some wondering what the future holds for the region and whether there’s a possibility of the country falling back into the hands of the Taliban.
“Could it slip back?” Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan Deborah Lyons asked in an interview on The West Block with Tom Clark. “It would slip back if the world community moves away and if we don’t continue to work with the Afghans on building that brighter future.”
Lyons volunteered for her position and has even asked for an extension because, in her words, “it’s the right place to be at the right time.”
The region, she argued is among the most important for the 21st century, nestled among some of the countries identified as having key economies to watch; namely China, Russia and India.
“Of course, you’ve also got Pakistan and Iran as neighbours. This part of the world is critical from a security perspective and an economic perspective,” she said.
Keeping the political focus on Afghanistan could prove difficult, however, especially after the last of Canada’s military left the region last week.
WATCH: The Canadian Press’ Murray Brewster and Graeme Smith, a journalist who was stationed in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2009 and has published the book The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan discuss the end of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.
“I think that my job as ambassador is to constantly be bringing evidence back to the Canadian politicians … and to the Canadian people to stay the course of Afghanistan,” Lyons said. “This is a country that is trending toward stability … because of Canadian blood that has been sacrificed here, and because the Afghan people so badly want it and so badly deserve it.”
Lyons was distinctly positive in her assessment of the situation, noting “terrific progress” in terms of security, decreasing number of attacks, building institutions and working toward enacting legislation to help support business partnerships.
But, she warned, “It is not all a happy picture at all. There are loads of challenges and loads of problems.”
WATCH: The uncut interview with Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan.