| GEO World|
| Canadian PM says won't extend Afghan mission|
| Updated at: 0417 PST, Tuesday, September 15, 2009|
TORONTO: Canada will not extend its mission in Afghanistan even if President Barack Obama asks him to when the countries’ leaders meet this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office said Monday.
Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas reiterated in a briefing Monday that Canada will withdraw its troops in 2011.
One hundred and thirty Canadian soldiers and a diplomat have been killed in Afghanistan, where Canada has 2,500 troops.
“Canada's position is clear,'' Soudas said. “The military component of the mission ends in 2011.''
Canada first sent troops to Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001attack on the United States and increased its deployment after declining a U.S. request to dispatch troops to Iraq.
Although Canada has usually served in more of a peacekeeping role in overseas missions after World War II, Harper has been a steadfastly in the post-Sept. 11 fight against al-Qaida.
In 2005, Canada assumed responsibility for Kandahar, one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous provinces. Last year, Harper said Canada had done its part after serving in the volatile region and announced Canada's troops would be withdrawn in 2011, extending its mission by two years.