Canada

Harper not on Obama's Afghan call list

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be among the world leaders briefed personally by U.S. President Barack Obama over his plans for a new strategy in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be among the world leaders briefed personally by U.S. President Barack Obama about his plans for a new strategy in Afghanistan.

Obama will contact a number of leaders, including those of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, China and Russia. But despite Canada's lengthy military commitment to the troubled region, Vice-President Joe Biden has been given the task of relaying the president’s plans to Harper.

Canada's military mission to Afghanistan began soon after the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. The current mission in Kandahar, which began at the end of 2006, includes 2,800 troops focused around an infantry battle group.

Harper has repeatedly said that he will adhere to a motion passed in Parliament and not extend Canada's military mission beyond 2011.

Since 2002, 133 Canadian soldiers have been killed serving in the Afghanistan mission, resulting in the highest per-capita death rate among foreign armies in Afghanistan. One diplomat and two aid workers have also been killed.

Obama ordered military officials to begin carrying out his new strategy in Afghanistan, two days before his speech to unveil a plan that includes the deployment of thousands of more troops.

On Tuesday night at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., Obama is expected to announce he will be sending more than 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.

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