Manley recommends extending Afghan mission

January 25, 2008
Afghanistan needs us
Without the presence of international troops, chaos would erupt
Saturday, January 26, 2008
The opening lines of my independent panel’s report make it clear that Afghanistan is at war and that Canada is a combatant. That’s the situation today, but a close reading of our work says it doesn’t have to be that way forever. I am encouraged that many others are ready to take our findings and begin a serious dialogue on what exactly Canada’s role should be in the future.
Soon Canadians will have a choice to make and the members of the Independent Panel on Canada’s Future Role in Afghanistan hope that our report will help. The essential questions are these: How to move from a military role to a civilian one? And how to achieve a shift in responsibility for Afghanistan’s security from the international community to Afghans themselves?
If I learned one thing from this inquiry, it is that our presence in that distant land does matter – to Afghans, to our allies and to our interests as Canadians.
January 22, 2008
The Report
OTTAWA — Canada should indefinitely extend its military mission in Afghanistan, but only on condition of additional equipment and more support from other countries, says a high-profile panel headed by former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley.
The panel also suggests gradually refocusing the mission on reconstruction, training and diplomacy rather than combat.
The blue-ribbon panel concluded that Afghanistan’s security situation has been deteriorating amid increased insurgent attacks, but noted that the country has also made economic and social progress.
“Many would have preferred us to find a basis on which to recommend an end to the Canadian military roles by a certain date,” the report states. More
Liberals keep doors open on Manley report
Kitchener, Ont. — Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion still insists that Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan must end in 2009, but his foreign-affairs critic left wiggle room and embraced the John Manley panel’s suggestion to delay a parliamentary vote on the mission until after a NATO summit in April.
Mr. Dion’s statements run squarely against Tuesday’s recommendations of Mr. Manley’s panel that the Canadian mission continue indefinitely if several conditions, including an injection of troops from another NATO country, are met.
But Liberals insisted they will save their full response until the government says what it will do – and the party’s foreign affairs critic, Bob Rae, refused to rule out supporting some kind of extension, insisting that there are so many conditions that it’s still not clear what the government will propose.
The uncertain response reflects concerns about how the report’s conclusions might put pressure on the Liberals, looking toward an election, to alter their entrenched position that Canada should move out of Kandahar next year, but stay in Afghanistan – a compromise reached to bridge divisions within Liberal ranks.

One Comment on "Manley recommends extending Afghan mission"

  1. Diana Thébaud Nicholson January 28, 2008 at 11:00 pm ·

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared on Monday that he was ready to extend Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan beyond its scheduled end in February, 2009, but only if NATO forces offer more help. Canada has 2,500 soldiers serving mainly in Kandahar. In a news conference, Mr. Harper said that he broadly accepts the recommendations of a panel on the Canadian mission in Afghanistan that were revealed last week. The government-appointed panel headed by former Liberal Party cabinet minister John Manley recommended that Canada extend its mission if NATO allies send one thousand more troops to the dangerous Kandahar region. The panel also urged the government to accelerate the purchase of helicopters and surveillance aircraft. Mr. Harper will present a parliamentary motion in the Spring on extending the Afghan mission. His Conservative Party is in a minority position, and a defeat of the motion might lead the government to fall, opening the way to a federal election. Public opinions polls suggest that many Canadians want the mission to end as scheduled in 2009.

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