What is Canada’s Intent on the Afghan Mission?
I’ve mentioned before the issue regarding what Canada means, exactly, by it’s Motion of March 2008 regarding the mission in Afghanistan.
This week, some more ministerial statements give political junkies more room to debate what’s going to happen to the mission by 2011.
“NATO ‘s new secretary-general has called on Canada to maintain its military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2011 – becoming the most high-profile official to publicly tackle the disconnect between Ottawa’s decision to end its military mission and other NATO members’ intentions to expand theirs.
“Of course I’m not going to interfere with domestic politics in individual allied nations, but seen from an alliance point of view, I would strongly regret if that became the final outcome of the Canadian considerations,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday when asked about Ottawa’s decision to end the combat mission in 2011.
“At the end of the day it is a question of our own security – we cannot allow Afghanistan once again to become a safe haven for terrorists – and I also think it is in Canada’s interest to ensure a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.” ….”
The latest response from Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon?
“…. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Ottawa won’t be swayed by Mr. Rasmussen’s comments. He said Ottawa is intent on ending Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan in 2011. That’s the plan laid out in a House of Commons motion adopted in March of 2008 by the Conservatives and the Liberal Opposition – a deal that ended their back-and-forth feuding on the length and purpose of the Afghan mission. “As you know, the resolution calls for us to end and stop our military intervention in 2011, and that is exactly what we will be doing,” Mr. Cannon said. “That decision’s been made known … and we are going to stay the course.”….” (from the Globe & Mail)
“Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon reaffirmed Thursday Canada’s 2011 exit from Afghanistan despite reported pleas from NATO’s chief for an extension of Canada’s deployment in the war-torn country. “Our government is abiding by the motion passed in parliament in 2008 — that is that our combat forces will leave by 2011,” Cannon said ….” (from Agence France-Presse)
“It is the opinion of the House, that Canada should continue a military presence in Kandahar beyond February 2009, to July 2011, in a manner fully consistent with the UN mandate on Afghanistan …. (and) that, consistent with this mandate, this extension of Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan is approved by this House expressly on the condition that …. the government of Canada notify NATO that Canada will end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011, and, as of that date, the redeployment of Canadian Forces troops out of Kandahar and their replacement by Afghan forces start as soon as possible, so that it will have been completed by December 2011.”
Do you see anything there about leaving Afghanistan by the end of 2011?