Not any more

Post-2011 role in Afghanistan undecided, Harper says

In Canada on August 25, 2010 at 10:28

The prime minister says nothing is decided about Canada’s role in Afghanistan post-2011, despite a federal briefing document suggesting the country spend about $550 million over three years for a civilian mission aimed at keeping a lid on terrorism.

The document, labelled "draft," was released to the Globe and Mail under access to information rules.

It describes a "modest engagement focused out of Kabul" that would cost $549 million from 2012 to 2014.

The draft paper speaks of Canada’s goal to stop Afghanistan from again becoming "a haven for terrorists" and its desire for a "contribution to (a) better future for Afghans."

Speaking to reporters in Churchill, Man., on Tuesday, Harper acknowledged the draft paper but didn’t commit to its contents.

"I see there is a report today on some proposals for future involvement. I should just be clear that while officials are examining various proposals, we have not taken decisions," he said.

He also said Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s opposition to private security contractors could make it more difficult for Canadian civilians to work in Afghanistan. "I will certainly concede that President Karzai’s decision will certainly complicate some of those choices in the future."

The document, a Power-Point presentation, spells out four themes for Canada’s future involvement after it ends its combat mission at the end of 2011: securing a future for Afghan children; promoting regional diplomacy; advancing human rights and rule of law; and delivering assistance.

The Canadian International Development Agency would shoulder $255 million costs and the Department of Foreign Affairs would contribute $37.5 million a year. Almost $10 million would go toward an RCMP peacekeeping program.

The document also makes clear that Canada’s allies have asked for its involvement in training Afghan national security forces.

Harper has made clear that Canada will not maintain a military mission after 2011.

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

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