World

Blair urges Canadians to support Afghan mission

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says Canadian troops in Afghanistan are fighting on the front line of the war on terrorism and their mission must be supported by people at home.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is urging Canadians to support their troops in Afghanistan,a country thatis "one of the front lines of the war against terror."

Speaking to the Canada-U.K. Chamber of Commerce in London, Blair warned that waning public interest or support of the NATO mission in Afghanistan was a clear signal to the Taliban andal-Qaeda that they were winning the conflict of ideas.

"If we let them win, will that make them any less likely to come after us?" he asked, "They're not going to stop.I believe it is absolutely vital that we stay the course, and never let Afghanistan be used again as a training ground for terrorists."

Blair's speech came as the bodies of two more Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan arrived home. In all,40 soldiers andone diplomat have been killed since Canada began an active military role in southern Afghanistan.

Blair said he sympathized with those in Canada and Britain who have lost loved ones.

"It is a tragedy for the families involved," he said, "and I know you have found it difficult in Canada (but) … we have to stick at it and see it through, otherwise the consequences will be dire."

Blair said Canada and Britain were close allies with many shared values as countries and societies. These included human rights, individual freedom, and openness to trade and business.

He also called on Canada to collaborate with Britain in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy security.

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