Saturday, March 24, 2007

Beyond 2009?

MONTREAL (AFP) - Canada may keep soldiers in
Afghanistan' to help stabilize the worn-torn nation beyond February 2009, its current commitment, it was reported, citing military documents.
The French-language Montreal daily La Presse said 235 million Canadian dollars (200 million US) has been budgeted to maintain Canada's military presence in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011, according to files obtained through access to information legislation. Last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government pushed a two-year extension through Parliament to February 2009, but did not exclude the possibility of a further commitment.
Opposition leader Stephane Dion vowed last month to bring Canadian troops home in February 2009, if his Liberal Party returned to power in the next general election, expected this year.
The Liberals accused Harper of having already made up his mind to extend the mission, despite his public denials. "All the documents suggest this government is just searching for a way to announce that we will be in Afghanistan after 2009," Liberal MP and defense critic Denis Coderre told La Presse. Defense department spokeswoman Carole Brown told AFP that planning for a longer stay was undertaken. "This plan details what units will make up our first and second line of operation until 2010. But the fact that we have identified particular units in no way implies that we will necessarily be using them in Afghanistan after 2009," she said.

This MCpl, a signal operator with Task Force Kabul, mans an observation post on TV Hill in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Other News:
Greek embassy in DR Congo hit by shell
Greece offers $1.6 million reward for info on group that attacked U.S. Embassy
Afghanistan: Med Evac Flies First Non-stop to Germany
Afghan, U.S. Troops Discuss Future with Elders
Soldiers Transform Quarters into Aid Station in Afghanistan

HAF Lockheed C-130H Hercules (L-382) Eindhoven, Netherlands. Mar 14, 2007.


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