Amid speculation over a future role for Canadian forces in Kandahar, Canada's top commander says he will withdraw all of the country's soldiers from the region by 2011.The Cons have tried to dress up our presence in Afghanistan in the cloak of peacekeeping and nation-building for years now in an attempt to justify a less than complete pull out. Canadians aren't buying it and don't trust this government to abide by parliament's wishes.
"The parliamentary motion directs that it will be the end of the military mission in July of 2011. I mean those are the words that are there," Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk told CBC News in an exclusive interview. "And for me it's pretty clear. What we do for the Canadian Forces are military missions."
CBC News had previously reported that Natynczyk ordered his commanders to start preparing military plans to pull out of Afghanistan and return thousands of soldiers and billions of dollars' worth of equipment to Canada.
The government has insisted Canada's military mission will end in 2011. But its ministers and staff — including Defence Minister Peter MacKay — have suggested Canadian soldiers could remain in Afghanistan beyond that deadline, though perhaps not in combat.
...the prime minister's spokesman Dimitri Soudas told CBC News last month that Canadian soldiers would remain in Afghanistan. He suggested a force much smaller than the 2,800-troop mission currently in Kandahar.
But Natynczyk said he couldn't see a role for any soldiers in Kandahar that would respect parliament's declaration.
"We provide protection, we provide security, we enable governance, we enable development, we enable training. But our function is security and protection. That's the military mission."