Harper says Canada to stay in S.Afghanistan

Thu Apr 3, 2008 10:51am EDT
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BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Canada will keep its troops in violent southern Afghanistan after NATO allies met its conditions by coming up with the reinforcements it demanded for the south, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday.

"We have satisfied these conditions," Harper told a news conference during a NATO summit in Bucharest. Canada has suffered heavy losses among its 2,500 troops, raising public pressure on his minority government for a pullout.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged an extra 700 soldiers for eastern Afghanistan, allowing the United States to say it would send an "equivalent" number to the south, the main front in the battle against Taliban insurgents.

(reporting by Randall Palmer, writing by Paul Taylor)

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 31, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>