Canada to pull out of Afghanistan in 2011

At the G8 pre-summit meeting in Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said Canada will end its military presence in Afghanistan after 2011, despite US pressure to stay.

At the moment Canada has 2,800 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the Canadian troops, but said she was disappointed over the decision to pull out.

Support for the war continues to dwindle and international backing is ebbing away.

Matthew Hoh, a former Marines captain and a US State Department official told RT that a ceasefire in Afghanistan and pulling the troops out could politically weaken the Taliban’s positions among the locals because they are fighting the Americans as an occupant force, so pulling out would give Afghans reason not to support the Taliban.

“A military build-up in Afghanistan is part of a political narrative. Both Obama and McCain campaigned on this in 2008 [saying] this is the right war, this is a justified war,” Matthew Hoh commented, adding, “so I do not see them turning the course on this strategy up until we get to 2012.”

“Right now we see the Karzai administration, the Taliban, the British government, the United Nations – really everyone but the United States arguing very forcefully and very publicly for negotiation settlement in Afghanistan.”