Canadian Panel Urges Afghanistan Troop Pullout

Miffed Canadians say allies need to step up
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2008 3:42 AM CST
The coffin carrying Cpl. Stephen Bouzane is carried from Sacred Heart Church in St. Patricks, Newfoundland, Canada, by fellow soldiers from 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Light Infantry on Saturday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A government-appointed panel has recommended that Canada withdraw from a combat role in Afghanistan next year unless European allies shoulder more of the burden, reports the Financial Times. "Canadian resources, and Canadians' patience, are not limitless," said the panel, which was established to defuse the debate that has sharply divided Canadian public opinion. The panel is calling for at least 1,000 more troops
from its NATO allies to help Canadian forces in the dangerous Kandahar region.

Canada has lost 77 soldiers in combat—just 9 fewer than Britain even though British forces are three times larger—and the refusal of some NATO allies to send troops to Afghanistan's south and east has angered many. The Canadian mission's mandate ends in a year and critics want to see Canadian troops move to a training and reconstruction role after that—or withdraw completely.