Afghan mission could be extended past 2011

Defence minister says gov't 'examining all the options'

The federal government hasn’t yet ruled out the possibility Canada might stay in Afghanistan past its self-imposed July 2011 deadline, according to Defence Minister Peter MacKay. That is, provided the opposition agrees to an extension. “I know that Ignatieff and Rae have made comments recently about training, and extending the mission,” MacKay said while on a tour of CFB Meaford. “That’s all very interesting.” As it stands, though, MacKay notes there’s little flexibility in the current plan to end the mission in July 2011, with all troops withdrawn by December of the same year. MacKay acknowledged what he termed as “a strong desire to have Canadians continue” among the country’s NATO allies in Afghanistan and said the government is currently “examining all the options.”

Owen Sound Sun Times

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