Canada's defense minister says the country will be able to continue its humanitarian work in Afghanistan after it removes its combat troops.

Defense Minister Peter MacKay says he's been making security arrangements with the U.S. and other countries for Canada's diplomats and development officers in southern Afghanistan.

MacKay made the comments alongside U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates before start of the Halifax International Security Forum Friday.

McKay said his country will continue to immunize children and build schools and irrigation systems beyond 2011, when Canada plans to start removing its 2,800 troops.

He noted American soldiers already protect the Dahla Dam, to which Canada made a major contribution.