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Canada to press ahead with Afghanistan intervention despite mounting casualties
Despite rapidly mounting casualties, Canada’s ruling Conservatives have made it quite clear that they have every intention of pressing ahead with the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF’s) intervention in Afghanistan.
Aided by a veritable chorus of support from the mass media and the opposition parties in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, other top Tory ministers, and the military top brass have all emphasized that there can be no turning back from the dramatic escalation of the CAF mission effected by the Conservatives in May. Little more than three months after the minority Harper government assumed office, it brought a motion before parliament extending the CAF mission in Afghanistan until at least February 2009, revealing at the same time that it wants the CAF to assume overall command of the US-NATO counter-insurgency operation for a year, starting in February 2008.
The fervency with which the entire Canadian political establishment has declared the intervention a closed question is a direct reflection of ruling class concerns that CAF casualties will cause popular support for the Afghan mission to plummet still further. A recent Strategic Counsel poll cited in the Globe and Mail showed that by July 56 percent of Canadians opposed the intervention in Afghanistan, an increase of 15 percentage points from March.
On the morning of Friday, August 11, Corporal Andrew James Eykelenboom became the most recent of an accelerating number of CAF personnel to lose their lives in the occupation of Afghanistan. A pickup truck full of explosives was detonated alongside the soldier’s light utility vehicle as it returned to the Kandahar airfield from the Spin Boldak district in southern Afghanistan.