Posted by: Christian | December 19, 2008

British Columbian Governor for Kanadahar

It’s not often that I can mix British Columbia and Afghanistan. But today the news came out that Tooryalai Wesa of the University of British Columbia was appointed governor of Kandahar. Wesa, who has lived for the last 13 years on the mean streets of Coquitlam (Vancouver), will be getting to work right away.

The CBC reports:

Wesa downplayed the dangers of the job, saying he’s spent the past three or four years criss-crossing Afghanistan working as a consultant.

“I would not call this a dangerous job. There is no difference between Kandahar and other provinces in Afghanistan,” he told CBC Newsworld Thursday.

That’s good to hear.

The post in Kandahar, aside from being overshadowed by Ahmed Wali Karzai, has not been so stable:

The governor’s post has been filled by two different people in the past eight months. Former army general Rahmatullah Raufi left the post in early December. He has said he was fired for running afoul of regional power brokers. Raufi replaced Gov. Asadullah Khalid, whose tenure was marred by allegations he was personally involved in the torture of at least one prisoner in Kandahar. Khalid denied the reports.

Former Canadian foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier committed a diplomatic blunder earlier this year by publicly musing that Khalid should be fired. The gaffe reportedly forced Karzai to delay firing Khalid for several months.

So, the post is challenging. No kidding. It will be interesting to see how Wesa manages it. His expertise is in studying government agricultural administration, so there is nothing to go on as far as expectations for administrative style. And speaking of agriculture, here is his PhD dissertation:

Wesa, Tooryalai. (2002) The Afghan agricultural extension system: impact of the Soviet occupation and prospects for the future. Thesis (Ph.D.)–University of British Columbia. Download PDF.

The University of British Columbia “Green Zone:”

Somewhat related, Gary Bull at UBC‘s Faculty of Forestry is/was working on a conservation project in Nuristan. No idea whether that is still on or not.


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