Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise.
LONDON — The federal government’s plan for Canada’s first permanent armed foreign mission says an army of up to 600 soldiers would train and accompany Afghan soldiers during combat and also patrol the country’s main roads and highways.
U.S. Ambassador David M. Satter has been working on the new mission for months. He and other diplomats have said Canada is ready to put soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan, but not on a permanent basis.
A senior official at NATO’s International Security Assistance Force has said there would be a total of 400 American soldiers in Afghanistan, with an “immediate” departure of up to 175,000 NATO forces by 2010. Those troops would leave over a three- to five-year period.
The new mission for the U.S. is likely to raise questions of Canada’s commitment to peace and security in Afghanistan, its efforts to support the Afghan people, and the role that Canadian soldiers play in Afghanistan.
The U.S. plans are not part of the Afghan government’s strategy. They also may not be known until late spring or early summer, although one possibility might be a formal announcement.
At the same time, U.S. officials say their plan is flexible, and they are willing to revise it as conditions change. They have discussed plans for an international “joint security force” with other countries, and they say Afghanistan itself can also be a part of that international force.
The plan is intended to build on Afghan forces’ ability to fight militants, provide training and technical support. It is also intended to prevent the Taliban from taking control of major border crossings in Afghanistan and to deal with “humanitarian” and other disasters such as earthquakes.
The plan is in keeping with the U.S