Harper says Afghan mission can't last indefinitely

Tue Oct 7, 2008 3:52pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The history of Afghanistan demonstrates that foreign troops cannot stay there indefinitely in an attempt to completely suppress all insurgency, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Tuesday.

"I don't think believe that we can pacify every corner of Afghanistan as foreign troops. What we can do is establish the basic security and train the Afghan security forces to gradually accept responsibility for the day-to-day security of their country," Harper told CBC television in an interview ahead of the October 14 general election.

No one can accuse Canada of cutting and running by carrying out plans to leave in 2011, he said on Tuesday, adding that such timelines were necessary to be able to hand over control in a reasonable time.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson)

<p>A soldier from 3rd Battalion PPCLA (Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry) out of Edmonton, Canada part of the Observer Mentoring and Liason Team (OMLT), walks through a poppy field in the Zharey district, southern Afghanistan May 21, 2008. REUTERS/Peter Andrews</p>