Volume 95, Issue 47

Friday, November 23, 2001
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Western talks booze policy

Chretien rallies the troops

Muslim prof discusses jihad and holy war

Big shot media guy talks federal politics

Brescia student: "As a woman, I don't feel safe"

PC club donation creates controversy

Harvard dude talks 'disequilibrium'

News Briefs

Chretien rallies the troops

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

Prime Minister Jean Chreten spent Thursday in Edmonton rallying Canadian troops anxiously awaiting orders to leave for war-torn Afghanistan.

"There is no more solemn decision for the prime minister than sending Canadians into military action and there is always an element of uncertainty, a risk in such deployment," Chretien told soldiers at the Edmonton Garrison.

"I know that being on standby makes you impatient, I know you are ready to go, to do your duty," he added. "But we owe it to you and your families to get the mission right."

Last Wednesday, the brigade placed 1,000 soldiers on 48-hour notice to fly out to Afghanistan. Chretien said discussions are underway to ensure troops are welcome in the nation now struggling to find order in a post-Taliban era.

Ahmad Wali Masoud, Afghanistan's top London envoy, said Canadian soldiers are welcome to provide humanitarian aid, but only after all plans are discussed with the northern alliance.

The alliance has overtaken much of Afghanistan, including the capital of Kabul and the northern city of Kunduz, which was surrendered by the Taliban Thursday.

"I have to say that Canada – as far as Afghans are concerned – [has] a good record," Masoud said from the Afghan Embassy in London, England.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has set its sights on rebuilding a country battered by war, oppression and political turmoil.

Top UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who will be chairing the first UN-sponsored meeting of Afghan groups in Germany, said he was optimistic about talks for a post-Taliban government.

"I don't think it's going to be easy," he said Wednesday night. "[But] the first signals we are getting are encouraging.

–with files from Associated Press and Canadian Press

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Copyright The Gazette 2001