Voters shocked by bold announcement
EDMONTON – Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Wednesday that his government plans to pull all troops out of Afghanistan eventually.
Coming in the heat of an election campaign, the announcement marks the boldest statement thus far on a major foreign policy issue announced by the Conservatives so far in this election.
“I don’t want to say we will pull out by a certain year, but I can say with certainty that the mission will end at some point,” Harper said during a federal election campaign stop in Edmonton.
“Our goal has to be to see some kind of progress, down the road, for improvement to happen in the future,” he said. “And with that timeframe in mind, we will plan for a complete withdraw,” he added.
The statement was clear indication that the Conservatives have no idea what to do about the troubled mission.
Candidates from other parties were quick to reply to the Conservative position.
“We’ve lost 97 Canadian soldiers already,” said New Democrat Party leader Jack Layton. “Eventually is not soon enough.”
Asked his when party’s believes an Afghanistan withdraw should take place, Layton replied, “Soon.”
Liberal leader Stephane Dion questioned the “eventually” deadline, stating forcefully before a press conference that the withdrawal needs to be “A little later.”
Some supporters have expressed surprise by Harper’s bold promise, but many believe that “eventually” is far enough down the road to have partially achieved some of the nebulous goals of the mission.