US & Canada

Canadian plan to extend Afghan mission comes under fire

A Canadian soldier in Afghanistan
Image caption Mr Harper said he does not need parliament's approval to extend the non-combat mission

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's proposed extension of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan has come under fire from some opposition parties.

The leftist New Democrats and separatist Bloc Quebecois accused Mr Harper of breaking a promise to bring 2,800 troops home this summer.

Canada's main opposition Liberals back the extension, but called for more detail on the proposals.

Mr Harper said last week he would deploy military trainers until 2014.

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

'Sad deterioration'

"Unilaterally extending the military mission in Afghanistan is the wrong thing to do," New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton was quoted by news agency AFP as saying.

"This is a sad deterioration in the level of democratic accountability that Canadians have come to expect."

Meanwhile, speaking in the Canadian parliament, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff pressed for further detail on the number of military trainers to be deployed, where they would operate and whether they would remain "behind the wire".

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Canadian troops would remain in a non-combat role but declined to specify their exact role or how many would be there, according to CBC News.

Mr Harper said last week he did not need parliamentary approval for the extension because it would be limited to a technical and training mission.

The proposed extension comes ahead of an 18 November Nato summit in Lisbon.

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