Sunday, April 11, 2010

McKay wants to extend the Afghan Mission

No doubt at the urging of his US imperialist comrades the junior partner will take on an extended but non-combat role to make up for the demise of our combat role. At the very least any extension should be debated in parliament. But then the defender of U.S. humanistic imperialism Michael Ignatieff will no doubt support the Conservatives in extending the mission because after all it is not a combat role. As no doubt military experts will point out they could still be involved in combat because they need to defend themselves! This is from CBC.

Afghan deployment past 2011 possible: MacKay

CBC News
Defence Minister Peter MacKay leaves the Canadian HQ in Kandahar on Saturday with Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard. MacKay said keeping Canadian police mentors in Afghanistan to train police officers is an option Ottawa is mulling for when the combat mission ends in 2011. (Murray Brewster/Canadian Press)
Defence Minister Peter MacKay on Saturday repeated the government's official line that the country's soldiers would be withdrawn from combat in Afghanistan next year, but he also suggested some Canadians might stay.

Canada is willing to continue mentoring Afghan police after the troop disengagement begins in summer 2011, MacKay said as he wrapped up a three-day trip to the Central Asian country.

Canada currently has 48 civilian police — RCMP and municipal officers — and 40 military police mentoring Afghan police officers in Kandahar. On Thursday, MacKay announced 90 more troops would be sent to help train local police and the national army, but at the time he said those new trainers would be brought home in 2011.

"After 2011, the military mission will end," MacKay said Saturday. "What we will do beyond that point in the area of training will predominantly be in the area of policing."

Keeping up the police-training role might alleviate pressure from the United States, which has pressed Ottawa to extend its military commitment.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CBC last month that "I'm not going to sit here and tell you we're happy" with Canada's plans to bring its forces home next year. But she also said the Afghan mission needs countries willing to commit to non-combat work.

"We do need non-combat forces, for example, for training and logistical work," Clinton said.

MacKay wouldn't unequivocally say Saturday whether troops might remain deployed past the withdrawal deadline to train the Afghan National Army — in addition to whatever civilians or soldiers stay behind to instruct police — but he strongly intimated it was unlikely.

"Let's be clear, it's speculation at this point. We're talking over a year before Canada's military mission will end," the defence minister said.

A parliamentary motion passed March 13, 2008, calls for Canada to "end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011" and for all forces to have left by the following December. Prime Minister Stephen Harper subsequently said that the vast majority of troops would be out of Afghanistan, and not just Kandahar, by the deadline.

About 2,830 Canadian troops are deployed in Afghanistan, mostly in the southern province of Kandahar, as part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force. Since 2002, when the mission began, 141 Canadian soldiers have been killed. Four Canadian civilians have also been killed.

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1 comment:

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