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50 percent of Canadians support Afghanistan mission

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Tue Jul 17, 1:39 AM ET

MONTREAL (AFP) – Half of all Canadians are still behind their government’s military mission in Afghanistan, despite the death of six of their troops there earlier this month and 22 this year, a survey said.

In the Ipsos-Reid Institute poll, 23 percent of the 1,002 people surveyed July 10-12 were strongly in favor of Canada’s mission in southern Afghanistan, and 27 percent were somewhat supportive.

Canadians’ overall support dropped slightly from an April poll that found 52 percent in favor of the mission, according to the survey commissioned by the CanWest media group.

Support for Canada’s mission in Afghanistan peaked at 57 percent in October 26, and has been dropping ever since.

On July 4, six Canadian soldiers and one Afghan interpreter were killed when a bomb destroyed their vehicle about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) southwest of Kandahar City. It was Canada’s highest single-day toll in Afghanistan since 2002.

The day after, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reissued a vow he made a month earlier not to withdraw Canada’s military mission from Afghanistan before February 2009, under its commitment to NATO.

The opinion poll found that in French-speaking Quebec province a 65 percent majority opposed Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, against 30 percent who supported it.

Quebec is due to send 2,000 troops to Afghanistan to relieve their English-speaking comrades.

Canada’s 2,500 troops are deployed with NATO’s 40,000-strong International Security Assistance Force in southern Kandahar province, which is at the heart of an insurgency by Taliban militants.

Since the US-led occupation was launched in October 2001, 66 Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, 22 of them so far this year.

The opinion survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

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Written by afghandevnews

July 17, 2007 at 3:05 am

Posted in Security

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