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UPDATED: 09:41, October 20, 2006
Canada repeats call for more NATO allies to send troops to Afghanistan
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Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay Thursday repeated his call for more NATO allies to send troops to Afghanistan.

The Conservative government has told Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, that Canada could not shoulder the entire burden of fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, MacKay said in an address to the Canadian International Council on Thursday.

"My point to him was, we cannot continue to do this without further support," MacKay said, referring to the NATO leader. "No one country, or even a handful of countries can do all that is necessary to provide the kind of security environment needed."

Forty-two Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have been killed in Afghanistan since the mission started in 2002, including 15 since the start of September.

The deaths have prompted calls from opposition politicians to re-examine Canada's contribution to the mission and concern that the military has been stretched too thinly.

Canadian Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor and Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Rick Hillier, have also tried to persuade those countries with forces already on the ground to lift some of the restrictions placed on them.

Last spring, the Conservatives committed to keeping the army on the ground in Kandahar until at least February 2009.

Source: Xinhua

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