Canada confirms NATO to send more troops to Afghanistan

Updated: 2008-04-03 09:49

OTTAWA -- Canada confirmed Wednesday that NATO has agreed to send 1,000 more troops to southern Afghanistan, a move that will satisfy Ottawa's demand in exchange for extending its mission.

Sandra Buckler, spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told reporters in Ottawa that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has offered a battalion of soldiers, normally around 700-800 troops, to be deployed to the eastern region of Afghanistan.

"Subsequently, the Americans have confirmed that, as a result, they will commit additional resources in the south, including Kandahar province," she said.

The US troops being sent to the south are expected to number 1,000.

The agreement partially meets Canada's demands from its NATO allies for extending the deployment of the Canadian troops to the Afghanistan mission until 2011.

Ottawa has also demanded more equipment if Canada is to remain involved in the military mission.

Local media reported Tuesday that Canada will also lease aerial drones from the United States, and procure between four to six Chinook helicopters and an unspecified number of light-armored vehicles from the US army.

The news came at a time when NATO leaders are gathering in Bucharest, capital of Romania to discuss issues including the alliance's enlargement and its Afghan mission.

Canada has 2,500 troops deployed in the volatile Kandahar province. The House of Commons passed a motion earlier this year to extend the mission, under the condition that NATO send 1,000 more troops to the region and the Defense Department acquires the much needed helicopters and other equipment.

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