The Canadian military has agreed to donate 2,500 surplus C7 rifles to the Afghan National Army, along with ammunition and training.

The decision, made quietly last week, is expected to bring the fledgling Afghan force in line with other NATO countries.

Building capacity among the ANA is the key to Canada's exit strategy from Afghanistan.

In November, a senior Afghan commander told the Canadian Press that better weaponry was crucial to the buildup of the ANA.

Lt.-Col. Shirin Shah Kowbandi said the army's old Soviet-era AK-47s frequently misfire.

At the time, he said Canadians had promised to provide the ANA with "good weapons" but that they had not yet delivered.

Canada has about 2,500 troops deployed in Afghanistan, on a mission that began in early 2002 in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban government.