Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Canada re-affirms decision for 2011 Afghan pull-out.

So far Harper has shown no signs of giving in to pressure to send more troops. No doubt he fears the possible political fallout. However there still is quite a bit of time before the actual pullout, although some arrangements are already being made apparently. Possibly Harper will nevertheless simply pull out of all combat roles and yet leave considerable numbers to fill a training role or something of that type. This still would place troops in harms way. This is from the Star.

Canada re-affirms 2011 Afghan pull-out
Richard J. Brennan

OTTAWA–The United States' renewed efforts in Afghanistan will in no way affect Canada's decision to pull its soldiers out of the war-torn country by 2011, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Tuesday from Brussels, where he is attending a NATO meeting.

Cannon said while President Barack Obama's commitment of 30,000 additional troops is welcome, Canada's military role will end in July 2011 "and we will respect the (House of Commons) motion to the letter."

"Canada welcomes the additional military and civilian resources the United States will deploy to Afghanistan, particularly to the south. Additional U.S. resources will help to provide a more secure environment for the Afghan people," he said.

Cannon did say that by having more American troops in the dangerous southern part of the country will allow Canada to concentrate on training the Afghan National Security Forces and "place responsibility for security back in the hands of Afghans."

"We look forward to furthering our collaboration with the United States in order to reach our ultimate and common goal of leaving Afghans and Afghanistan that is better governed, more peaceful and more secure," he said.

Cannon said Canada is "recognized and respected" as a leader in security and reconstruction operations in southern Afghanistan, the most dangerous and difficult environment in the country, which is expected to continue in some capacity after the pullout.

"Now while our military mission will end in 2011 Canada will continue to have an ongoing development and diplomatic relationship with Afghanistan through the Canadian embassy in Kabul," he said.

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