Canada firm on quitting Afghanistan by 2011November 10th, 2008 - 2:05 pm ICT by IANS
Toronto, Nov 10 (IANS) The Americans may have shown renewed interest in Afghanistan but Canada stays firm on its decision to end its mission in the war-torn country by 2011, says Canada’s new foreign minister Lawrence Cannon. The minister told a television channel Sunday that the tough stand by US president-elect Barack Obama on Afghanistan will have no impact on the Canadian decision to pull out of Afghanistan by 2011.
During the US presidential campaign, Obama promised to send two more US brigades to Afghanistan to go after the Al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden.
“While we welcome the Americans’ renewed interest in Afghanistan, particularly president-elect Obama’s position during the campaign, we nonetheless want to make it perfectly clear that the US position will not change Canada’s position as defined in our parliamentary resolution,” the Canadian foreign minister said.
“We will be pulling out our military forces in 2011 and this is quite clear,” he reiterated.
Canada, which joined the NATO-led war against Al Qaeda in 2002, currently has about 2,500 troops fighting the insurgents in the volatile Kandahar province.
The Canadian mission, which was to end this December, was extended earlier this year till December 2011.
But with about 100 Canadian soldiers already killed in the war, public and political pressure has been mounting on the Conservative government to end the mission.