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Canada seeks to extend Afghan mission

The country plans to ask Parliament to approve a two-year extension of its Afghan military mission, Foreign Minister Peter MacKay said.

india Updated: May 16, 2006 15:58 IST

The Canadian government is planning to ask Parliament to approve a two-year extension of its military mission in Afghanistan, according to reports published on Tuesday.

The Canadian mission in Kandahar, Afghanistan, is scheduled to end in February 2007, however the government will ask lawmakers to vote on Wednesday to extend the mission to February 2009, according to a report on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp website.

"There is a need for a longer-term plan and commitment," Foreign Minister Peter MacKay was quoted as saying by The Globe and Mail newspaper.

"I assured (US President George W Bush) that Canada is here and intends to continue to work with our international partners and with the Afghan people to achieve results," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

All parties have agreed to debate extending the Afghanistan mission on Wednesday at 1900 GMT on Wednesday, the CBC report said.

The debate is expected to last six hours and will be followed by a vote.

The mission has faced increased scrutiny since four soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb near Gumbar, north of Kandahar last month.

The attack was the deadliest against the 2,300-Canadian contingent since they arrived to take over control of Kandahar from US troops.

At least 16 Canadians have been killed in the reconstruction efforts since 2002.