TORONTO – Canada has begun preparations to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in 2011.
Maj. Cindy Tessier said Friday that the chief of Defense staff, Gen. Walter Natynczyk, has ordered preparations to get under way that would see Canada's 2,800 troops removed from southern Afghanistan in the summer of 2011.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has said it will not extend Canada's military mission even if President Barack Obama asks.
Since 2002, 133 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died.
Canada first sent troops to Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and increased its deployment after declining a U.S. request to dispatch troops to Iraq.
Parliament has mandated that the military mission must end in 2011.