Sorry Obama, no more troops for Afghanistan: Canada

January 22nd, 2009 - 2:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaToronto, Jan 22 (IANS) Canada has reiterated that it is committed to leaving Afghanistan and will not respond to US President Barack Obama’s call for more troops.With the new US president planning to double the number of troops in Afghanistan, Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Wednesday that Obama will have to request other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) allies.

With a majority of Canadians against the Afghan mission, the defence minister said Canada was firm on leaving the insurgency-wracked country by the end of 2011.

The Canadian parliament has already voted to end the mission by December 2011.

Asked about Obama’s persuasive skills, MacKay said: “That’s got nothing to do with it (the Afghan mission). We have to be practical and pragmatic and also respect our parliamentary decision.”

He said the American president will most likely find commitment for more troops from other NATO allies.

The defence minister said Obama will “go on an extensive tour of NATO allies requesting that they step up, that they come to the fight and provide more actual, tangible support to ensure success in Afghanistan. And I think that will happen”.

Canada, which joined the Afghan war in 2002, has over 2,500 troops battling the Taliban insurgents in Kandahar province. The mission has already cost the country 107 lives and more than $18 billion.

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