Ya see what happens when what happens next isn’t clear? This, from the Ottawa Citizen:
The Chief of the Defence Staff was unequivocal about the withdrawal of some 2,800 Canadian Forces members while testifying Tuesday at the House of Commons defence committee, where MPs repeatedly pressed him to clarify what they regard as vague government messages on how many non-combat troops will be left behind and what role they will play.
(General Walt) Natynczyk’s answer in short was: None, “except perhaps for people who work in the embassy.” Later he specified an attaché may be the only one left in the country.
Yet Canada is sending two surveillance aircraft to Afghanistan in a move some defence analysts see as laying the groundwork for a military mission in Kandahar beyond the 2011 pullout date.
Although the federal government has not made any details public, the U.S. army issued a news release Monday saying that a U.S. firm had been awarded a $12-million deal to modify two aircraft being provided by Canada.
Work on the surveillance planes would be done in the U.S. and in Afghanistan and would be completed by June 15, 2011, two weeks before the stated date for Canadian soldiers to end their mission.
We DO have this new tidbit, though:
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in a written statement tabled in the Commons that his department “has not developed any contingencies for the extension of the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan beyond 2011.” The statement was in a written answer to questions from Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh about planning for a possible extension.
Is that right? Luck, than, that we appear to be spending millions on new living quarters for the troops in Kandahar Air Field. (MERX, courtesy of Milnet.ca) Let’s also not forget the bids about month ago for honkin’ buildings for storage and AFG maintenance, worth almost $6M – more on those here and here.
Am I naive, or don’t the taxpayers (and the troops) deserve a bit more clarity, structure and cohesiveness on this?