US & Canada

Canada PM says no vote needed to extend Afghan mission

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Image caption Mr Harper said he did not need parliament's approval because the mission would focus on training

Canada's parliament will not be asked to vote on whether to extend a military mission in Afghanistan, which is scheduled to end next year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said.

He added that he did not need parliament's approval for the extension because it would be a training mission.

Mr Harper said on Thursday he would "reluctantly" deploy military trainers until 2014 to help Afghan forces.

Canada's combat troops are mandated by parliament to return home in 2011.

Mr Harper spoke on Friday on the sidelines of meetings with G20 leaders in South Korea.

"If you are going to put troops into combat into a war situation, I do think for the sake of legitimacy, I do think the government does require the support of parliament," Mr Harper said.

"But when we're talking simply about technical or training missions, I think that is something the executive can do on its own."

After several days of not discussing the matter, Mr Harper confirmed on Thursday that some Canadian troops would remain in Afghanistan past the 2011 withdrawal date, saying he had made the decision reluctantly.

Lives lost

Canada has recently come under international pressure not to pull out troops at a time when the US is boosting its military presence in the region.

There are currently about 2,800 Canadian combat troops stationed in Afghanistan as a part of Nato's International Security Assistance Force.

Since the start of Canada's mission in Afghanistan in 2002, the war has claimed the lives of 152 Canadian soldiers, a journalist, aid workers and a senior diplomat.

Meanwhile, at G20 talks in South Korea on Friday, leaders agreed to come up with "indicative guidelines" to tackle trade imbalances affecting world growth.

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