Canada's role in Afghanistan is expected to be high on the agenda as Parliament resumes sitting on Monday, even though NATO has yet to announce firm plans on troop levels and what exactly it wants from Canadian forces.
Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that some Canadian troops would remain in the country until 2014 in a non-combat, training role.
The move would extend Canada's military presence in Afghanistan three years past the July 2011 withdrawal deadline set by Parliament, but would remove troops from the front lines of fighting.
While the Liberals appear to be onside with the government, the NDP and Bloc are not.
The Conservative government faces international pressure — publicly and privately — to leave behind at least a contingent of military trainers to help address a shortfall in the NATO-led mission.
With a NATO meeting scheduled later this week in Lisbon, Portugal, details of Canada's role will likely be delayed.
Officials meeting in the Portuguese capital from Nov. 18-20 will hear from U.S. Gen. David Patraeus, who is in charge of American forces in Afghanistan. He will unveil a more detailed timetable leading to 2014 and will lay out what type of troops will be needed to stay behind and how many will be needed to rebuild and retrain the Afghan army to take over security.
It is reported Canada plans to reduce its current deployment of about 2,700 troops in Afghanistan to roughly 750 military "trainers" and another 250 military support staff, but the government has not offered exact numbers.
The Obama administration has been saying it wants to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July 2011, but U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates last week said it will likely be a "years-long process," apparently to signal to Taliban insurgents that U.S. and NATO-led troops aren't leaving anytime soon.