As the debate plays out about whether President Obama's decision to send an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan will help ease the increase in Taliban insurgency, the president is reaching out to allies for help.The public opinion support for military involvement in Afghanistan in both Europe & Canada is low.
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Canada has about 2,800 troops in Afghanistan, but Parliament has voted to pull them out by 2011. Obama suggested he will take up the issue with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper when the two meet Thursday in Ottawa.
That may be why Obama is reaching out to Canada to help ease the burden on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, who may remain there as long as five years, according to Gen. David McKiernan, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
"This is not a temporary force uplift," McKiernan told reporters. "It will need to be sustained for some period of time, for the next three to four to five years."
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CNN security analyst Peter Bergen said the United States shouldn't necessarily count on NATO countries to lend a hand.
"I think it's probably not very realistic. ... We've constantly asked our NATO allies ... for more soldiers on the ground. Very few NATO countries are going to be willing to send their soldiers into harm's way," he said