Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon has dismissed NATO calls for extending his country’s deployment in Afghanistan after 2011.
“Our government is abiding by the motion passed in parliament in 2008 – that is that our combat forces will leave by 2011,” he told CBC on Thursday.
Cannon’s remarks came after NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he would like to see Canada stay beyond 2011.
The Canadian parliament in 2008 voted to withdraw the country’s forces no later than 2011.
The minister also praised Canada’s military personnel for their important role in the war-torn country.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express my strong appreciation of the significant Canadian contribution to our mission in Afghanistan,” he said.
Ottawa has currently some 2,800 troops based in Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan, as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Nearly 130 Canadians have been killed in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of the country seven and half years ago.