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Monday, 2 March 2009

NATO can't defeat Afghan insurgency, PM says

The United States must come up with a viable Afghan exit strategy before asking Canada to rethink its plan to pull out of the country in 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says.

The Conservative leader said he wouldn't entertain such questions — which have come frequently since the election of U.S. President Barack Obama — without first hearing Washington's "strategy for success and for an eventual departure" from Afghanistan.

Indeed, Harper said he has no interest in signing the country up for another tour in an open-ended war in Afghanistan, because simply staying the course is a recipe for failure.

"We're not going to win this war just by staying," he told CNN in an interview that was taped last Monday in New York and aired today.

The more modest and achievable goal is to have a capable, corruption-free Afghan government and security force.

"We are not going to ever defeat the insurgency. My reading of Afghan history is that it's probably had an insurgency forever, of some kind," Harper said. More