Is Canada Leaving “Kandahar” or “Afghanistan” in 2011?

Maybe I’m reading too, too much into these things, but two things  got me wondering about the future of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.

1)  I note the latest photos on a Canadian government Flickr page from Afghanistan are lovely views of Kabul and its environs, as well as Mazar-i-Sharif (.pdf screen capture of front page here).

2) Remember the 13 Mar 08 resolution of Parliament politicians refer to when they say some version of “we’re outta here by the end of 2011”?  The bits I’ve highlighted in red  intrigue me:

“…. 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 the military mission should consist of:

(a) training the Afghan National Security Forces so that they can expeditiously take increasing responsibility for security in Kandahar and Afghanistan as a whole;

(b) providing security for reconstruction and development efforts in Kandahar;

(c) the continuation of Canada’s responsibility for the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team;

that, consistent with this mandate, this extension of Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan is approved by this House expressly on the condition that:

(a) NATO secure a battle group of approximately 1000 to rotate into Kandahar (operational no later than February 2009);

(b) to better ensure the safety and effectiveness of the Canadian contingent, the government secure medium helicopter lift capacity and high performance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance before February 2009; and

(c) 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 ….”

(Resolution at Parliament of Canada web page here and downloadable in .pdf format here)

We have seen hints of future activity in the past buried in official statements.

Could this be a foreshadowing of, say, not leaving Afghanistan, but just moving out of Kandahar?

Comments or theories always welcome….

7 Aug 09 Update: More tea leaves worth reading.

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