Monday, November 9, 2009

Canada Announces 'Draw Down' of Combat Presence

An announcement made by Chief of the Defence Staff General Walter Natynczyk has laid the groundwork of a ‘drawdown’ of Canadian military personnel in Afghanistan to occur over the next year and a half. Canada has currently no plan for combat troops to remain in the country after the summer of 2011. The planned withdrawal is based on a framework laid out by parliament, requesting that Canada end its military field involvement by 2011. The next year and a half will embody a good deal of logistical and clerical work as Canada begins to move materiel and later men, out of theatre. Defence minister Peter McKay has avoided speaking directly as to the post 2011 commitment that Canada will have in Afghanistan, but sources indicate that Canadian troop levels will be minimal following that deadline.

"I would caution you against saying dozens or hundreds or a thousand, there will be exponentially fewer… Whether there's 20 or 60 or 80 or 100, they will not be conducting combat operations."

-Spokesperson for Steven Harper, Dmitri Soudas.

There are 2800 Canadian troops in Theatre, and casualties have consisted of 133 soldiers and a diplomat. As the Canadian nation makes preparations for Remembrance Day ceremonies, the government has awarded for the first time, a medal intended for soldiers killed or wounded in Afghanistan. The ‘Sacrifice Medal,’ (pictured above) created last year was bestowed upon 46 individuals yesterday and formally replaced the wound stripe (pictured below) which was the standard decoration, since the second world war.

The Ottawa Citizen – No plans for Afghanistan after 2011, top general affirms

Xinhua - Canada awards medals to soldiers killed or wounded in military actions

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