Saturday, January 9, 2010

Canada to Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan by End of 2011

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Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper in an interview with the Canwest News Service and the National Post on January 6, said all Canadian soldiers will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2011, reports the National Post.

He was interviewed mostly on Canadian politics. When asked about Canadian troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, Mr. Harper said: "...the bottom line is that the military mission will end in 2011. There will be a phased withdrawal, beginning in the middle of the year. We hope to have that concluded by the end of that year."

He further said: "We will continue to maintain humanitarian and development missions, as well as important diplomatic activity in Afghanistan. But we will not be undertaking any activities that require any kind of military presence, other than the odd guard guarding an embassy. We will not be undertaking any kind of activity that requires a significant military force protection, so it will become strictly civilian mission. It will be a significantly smaller mission than it is today."

The Prime Minister also expects that Afghanistan at the end does not become a failed state.

Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

Canada militarily got involved in Afghanistan when troops of the USA and some other NATO countries started the war against the incumbent Taliban government that provided shelter and training to Al Qaeda terrorists, some of whom destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. Canadian soldiers since then have been playing a vital role in that country in combating the ousted Talibans and other insurgents.

So far, more than 2,500 Canadian soldiers are involved in Afghanistan. Of them, 138 soldiers died there by December 31, 2009.

The psychological cost of the war in Afghanistan is immeasurable. Let's hope that our soldiers complete their mission and return to their near and dear ones without much more loss and psychological cost. Bookmark and Share