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article imageWill PM Stephen Harper extend Canada's mission in Afghanistan?

By Andrew Moran     Nov 8, 2010 in Politics
Ottawa - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is considering the possibility of extending Canada's role in Afghanistan. If the campaign is extended, Harper would most likely agree to take on a non-combat training role of Afghanistan's soldiers.
Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan is set to end in July 2011, which was a deadline set by Parliament. According to an October poll conducted by Angus Reid, almost half of Canadians believe it was a mistake entering the war in Afghanistan and 55 percent oppose the war entirely.
The Canadian Press has learned that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is now looking at a proposal that would have Canadian troops serve in a non-combat training role until 2014 and the soldiers would not be in a combat-role in the front lines.
The Prime Minister is considering this option because the Conservative government is facing significant international pressure to at least have a group of training military personnel to assist in the transition phase in Afghanistan, which is being led by NATO.
Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.
Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.
Canadian Forces
It has been openly reported that NATO does not have 900 trainers it needs to properly train Afghanistan’s military and police personnel. If Harper agrees then he would send approximately 600 troops to Kabul.
“Regardless of Afghanistan, Canada has an obligation to NATO,” said one source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “[It would be] inconceivable that the prime minister would not take that into consideration.”
It’s expected that Harper will make the decision soon. Harper will be present at a NATO meeting in Portugal at the end of this month, notes the Vancouver Sun.
The Montreal Gazette reports that on Sunday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay told a group of reporters that a training role is a distinct possibility: “We've been crystal clear in saying the combat mission will end in July of this year. But training is an option, and something we've (already) been very good at, quite frankly.”
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