Canada, allies will never defeat Taliban in Afghanistan: PM Harper

March 2nd, 2009 - 7:35 pm ICT by ANI  


Washington, Mar.2 (ANI): CanadianPrime Minister Stephen Harper has said that neither Canada nor other foreign armies can defeat the Taliban.
In an interview that was broadcast on Sunday, Harper said: Frankly, we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency.
Canadian troops have been fighting and dying in Afghanistan since 2002, but this is the first time the Prime Minister has explicitly said defeating the Islamic extremists can”t be done, according to the Globe and Mail newspaper.
Harper told CNN’’s Fareed Zakaria that despite sending thousands of soldiers to Afghanistan and suffering more than 100 troop deaths, the success has been modest and any gains made could be lost.
We”re not going to win this war just by staying, Harper said while pointing to the long history of Afghan insurgencies successfully driving out foreign invaders including the Soviet army in the 1980s and the British a century earlier.
Harper didn”t rule out sending more troops or extending the Canadian combat commitment beyond the current 2011 deadline.
Despite unambiguous and repeated assertions as recently as last week by Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon that Canada won”t extend its combat role in Afghanistan, Harper seemed to leave a little wiggle room on Sunday.
Asked if he would reject such a request from President Barack Obama, who has just ordered more than 17,000 additional U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan and has vowed to defeat the insurgency, Harper said: If President Obama were to ask me that question, I would have a question back for him. And that question would be: What is your plan to leave Afghanistan to the Afghans.”
Obama has made clear that he regards military success as only one dimension of eventual success in Afghanistan, he has never suggested defeating the insurgency can”t be done. Rather he has exhorted allies to do more militarily.
Canada is one of the very few allies so far willing to send soldiers to southern Afghanistan, heartland of the Taliban where the insurgency has been growing.
For Ottawa to be taking the position that foreign troops can”t deliver victory may make Obama’’s task harder, says the paper. (ANI)

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