Manley Report: Canada needs help in Afghanistan
Rob Peters | January 22, 2008 at 09:32 amby
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Afghanistan need to shift its role from combat to diplomacy, and need more helicopters, more troops, and more time.
OTTAWA -- If Canada does not get more help from its NATO allies and new helicopters from its own government it should serve notice that the Canadian Forces will be withdrawn from volatile southern Afghanistan, says the blue-ribbon panel on the mission.
Those were the key findings of five-member panel headed by former Liberal foreign affairs minister John Manley, which handed down its final report to the Conservative government Tuesday morning.
"We are recommending a Canadian commitment to Afghanistan that is neither open-ended nor faint-hearted," says the report, adding Canada must gradually shift its efforts in Afghanistan from combat to training and place greater emphasis on diplomacy and reconstruction.
The panel also urges NATO to deploy at least one new battle group -- about 1,000 troops -- so Canada can concentrate more on training the Afghan Army.
The report's other recommendation is aimed at the Harper Conservatives -- giving them until February 2009 to "secure the latest new, medium-lift helicopters" and high-performance unmanned aerial vehicles.
The report recommends extending the mission beyond 2009, saying: "The Panel could find no operational logic for choosing February 2009 as the end date for Canada's military mission in Kandahar -- and nothing to establish February 2009 as the date by which the mission would be completed."
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