TORONTO — Canada will send up to 900 troops to Afghanistan in the next few weeks to assist in peacekeeping and other duties outside the capital of Kabul, defense officials said.
Defense Minister Art Eggleton is expected to announce details of the deployment Monday, but officials briefed reporters late Friday. They said the 700 to 900 troops would come from the Edmonton, Alberta-based Princess Patricia Light Infantry.
A spokesman for the garrison said a date for deployment had not been set.
The deployment announcement came amid domestic criticism that Canadian troops were not fit for duty in Afghanistan
While the infantry deployment will be a more visible Canadian contribution, they will not be the first Canadian forces on the scene. Five Canadian ships are in the Arabian Sea, escorting American aircraft carriers and aiding amphibious assault ships guarding the seas to ensure suspected terrorists are not fleeing the area by ship.
The deal for a Canadian contribution was reportedly reached with American military officials at the U.S. Southern military command headquarters in Tampa, Fla.
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