The Canadian media has reports on a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – who’s in Quebec for a meeting of G8 foreign ministers - and her comments on Tuesday that the U.S. would like Canada to extend their mission in Afghanistan.
"It's up to Canada to decide how you deploy your forces," Clinton told the CBC’s “The Hour.”
"But I'm not going to sit here and tell you we're happy about it because … that wouldn't be telling you the truth. We'd love to have Canada stay in this fight with us. But again, you know, you've got your own considerations and we respect that."
The Globe and Mail reports Clinton “stoked a political fire under the issue of Canada's planned 2011 withdrawal from Afghanistan when the Secretary of State told a national TV audience that the U.S. would like Canadian troops to extend their stay in the war-torn country.”
“[Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper] is reported to have told Ms. Clinton during a meeting Tuesday that Canada's military mission will end as scheduled next year, even as G8 foreign ministers affirmed their desire to stay the course in Afghanistan.”
The Vancouver Sun quotes Harper speaking to the House of Commons:
"The government's position could not be clearer,” Harper said according to the Sun. “Whether we get asked about it this week or last week or next week, we passed a motion in this Parliament in 2008 and Canada's military mission in Afghanistan will end in 2011. We will continue (after that) with a mission on governance, on development and on humanitarian assistance."
Some other news reports and perspectives:
- Laura King (Los Angeles Times): “Afghan militant Hekmatyar packs a surprise”
- C.J. Chivers (New York Times): “Afghan marksmen: Forget the fables”
- Greg Zoroya (USA Today): “VA uncertain of long-range health costs”
- Thomas Friedman (New York Times): “This time we really mean it”
- Con Coughlin (Wall Street Journal): “The U.S. timetable isn’t right for Afghanistan”