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UPDATED: 10:49, June 08, 2006
Canada denies report of soldiers abducted in Afghanistan
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Canadian officials said Wednesday an earlier report that Canadian soldiers have been abducted in Afghanistan is false and all troops have been accounted for.

The Prime Minister's Office announced that after a head count, all 2,300 Canadian personnel and another 4,200 coalition troops in the war-torn country were safe.

Gen. Rick Hillier, chief of defense staff, also said before the PMO announcement that no soldiers were missing.

He said the head count was conducted after Al-Jazeera and Reuters reported Taliban claims that it had abducted several Canadian or other coalition soldiers.

After about four hours of counting, Canadian military officials determined that none of the approximately 2,300 soldiers stationed in the country was missing.

"We are doing a verification with our chain of command that this is indeed false, which we believe it to be," Hillier said.

Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan have come under frequent attack from Taliban militants since taking over more dangerous assignments in the Kandahar region during the past few months.

Last month, Canada's parliament narrowly passed a government motion to extend the mission in Afghanistan by two years until 2009.

Source: Xinhua

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