Volume 95, Issue 44

Tuesday, November 20, 2001
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SSSC pursues missing soph fees

Illegal parking poses huge safety risk

Turmoil puts war on hold

Western now home to Uber-computer

Sex offender in London

Turmoil puts war on hold

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

While Canadian troops remain on 48 hour notice for possible deployment to war-torn Afghanistan, Prime Minister Jean Chretien said Monday that a final decision on Canada's military involvement has not yet been made.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Chretien said Canada's role is still being defined, but, it is hoped, troops will be kept out of the heaviest fighting.

"The principal role that we hope they will have if, whenever and if they go there – because there is no final conclusion – will be to make sure that [aid gets] to the people who need it. And the troops will be there to help pave the way," he said. "We don't want to have a big fight there."

"I don't know if the prime minister is watching [the] news, but there is a big fight there," shot back Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day.

Defense Minister Art Eggleton said troops would not be placed in situations they were unprepared to handle.

"They're not going over there for frontline activity in an offensive manner," he said. "If they suddenly face that kind of situation without the proper equipment, without the proper preparation, it would only be appropriate to pull them back."

American and northern alliances forces continued Monday to shell Kunduz – the last Taliban stronghold in Northern Afghanistan.

Foreign militants who entered the country to fight with the Taliban are apparently preventing Taliban forces from surrendering in Kunduz. Refugees fleeing the city report up to 300 Taliban soldiers killed by their own allies.

More United States commandos have been deployed to Southern Afghanistan, as the U.S. stepped up its campaign to hunt down and capture Osama bin Laden. There are now a few hundred American soldiers on the ground, said Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke.

The northern alliance has asked the United Nations to find representatives from Afghanistan's majority Pashtun ethnic group with whom an alliance can be negotiated and a conference between all Afghan factions was set to begin Nov. 24 in Germany, said a Pakistani diplomatic source.

–with files from Associated Press

and Canadian Press

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Copyright The Gazette 2001