Leave or face more deaths, Taliban warns Canada

August 18th, 2008 - 9:48 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban
By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Aug 18 (IANS) In its first direct threat to any US ally in the war on terror, the Taliban warned Canada Sunday that either it quit Afghanistan or face increased attacks on its troops and aid workers in the insurgency-wracked country. The threat comes within days after the killing of two Canadian aid workers - Jackie Kirk and Shirley Case - in an ambush at Logar near Kabul. The two were working on education programmes for Afghan children.

In its open letter directed at the Canadian public, the Taliban said: “The Afghans did not go to Canada to kill the Canadians. Rather, it is the Canadians who came to Afghanistan to kill and torture the Afghan.

“Therefore, you have to convince your government to put an end to the occupation of Afghanistan, so that the Afghans are not killed with your hands and so that you are not killed with the hands of the Afghans.”

The insurgent outfit added that “Afghanistan has to try to have good relations with you.

“But if your government continues a reversed policy, the Afghans will be obliged to kill your nationals, in revenge for their brothers, their sisters, and their children. Events such as Logar will happen again.”

The Canadian government responded to the Taliban threat, saying that its Afghan mission will stay the course. The threat `is not a development,’ said a spokesman for the prime minister’s office.

Canada joined the US-led war against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001 with a few hundred troops. Currently, it has about 2,500 soldiers fighting the Taliban in the Kandahar region. It plans to beef up its presence there by 200-odd troops to man the newly inducted surveillance equipment.

So far, 90 Canadian troops have been killed in the Afghan war which has divided the Canadian public and the political establishment. The country’s mission is mandated to end in 2011.

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