Here we go again. Since Oct. 2001 we have been involved in Afghanistan. Ten years later in 2011 we will no doubt be told that we have to stay and finish the job blah blah... with the usual unctious moralising tones. From the start we have been a junior helper for the U.S. our mission elevated to the godlike Apollo. This is from CTV.
Manley panel: Don't expect firm deadline for mission
Updated Tue. Mar. 11 2008 6:54 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Members of the Manley panel say the government should not expect a firm deadline for the Afghanistan mission, and that an extra 1,000 NATO soldiers in Kandahar should only be seen as a bare minimum for military support.
A crucial vote on the mission is expected Thursday in the House of Commons, and the Liberals have suggested they will likely support a motion to extend military operations until 2011.
But Canadians should not expect an exact date for when the mission might end, panel member Derek Burney told the Foreign Affairs committee Tuesday.
"We spent a lot of time debating this," he said.
"We knew Canadians would have loved to have heard from the panel that, you know, by December 31st in such and such a year our mission will be accomplished. But we found no operational logic that would lead us to a certain time for the completion of the mission."
Burney said the panel saw the mission as being "performance-based, not time-based," leaving it open when troops might complete their objectives of boosting local security forces and helping build infrastructure for local communities.
"We fully expect that the Afghan security forces will be taking the lead responsibility for security, to some extent, in the coming two to three years," he added. "But as for when they will be able to take full charge of security in Kandahar, there's nobody who could give a guarantee about that."
Fellow panel members Pamela Wallin, a former broadcaster; and John Manley, a former Liberal MP who headed the panel at the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, also spoke before the committee.
Manley said Canada should expect a bare minimum of 1,000 extra NATO soldiers in Kandahar, if it wants to continue operations in the war-torn country until 2011.
He said the panel arrived at that troop number after speaking with Gen. Rick Hillier, chief of defence staff, and Gen. Guy LaRoche, who commanded Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan last fall.
Opposition critics have said NATO needs to double its forces throughout Afghanistan, and adding 1,000 troops to Kandahar will not be enough to help Canadian soldiers.
With files from The Canadian Press