Afghanistan no longer source of terrorism: Canada PM
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Afghanistan "is no longer a source of global terrorism" during a surprise visit to the war-torn country, but still urged vigilance on the threat.
Ottawa: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Afghanistan "is no longer a source of global terrorism" during a surprise visit to the war-torn country, but still urged vigilance on the threat.
His office announced the one-day trip after his jet was wheels-up. It comes as Canada prepares to transition to a training mission after nine years of combat in Afghanistan.
"This country does not represent a geostrategic risk to the world," Canada`s public broadcaster CBC quoted Harper as saying in a speech. "It is no longer a source of global terrorism."
However, he added, nations such as Canada must remain vigilant.
"Some might think that given all our sacrifices and with news of Osama bin Laden`s death, the threat of terrorism has vanished," he said. "Unfortunately, it`s an illusion.
"We cannot pretend that terrorism (from elsewhere) does not threaten our world or our nation."
Afghanistan`s support for al-Qaida led to the invasion of the country by US and its allies following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
A spokesperson for Harper said the prime minister made the trip "to thank the troops for their work and to get a briefing on the transition."
During the one-day visit, Harper met with Canadian soldiers at their base at Kandahar Airfield and toured parts of the country by helicopter, including a stop at a remote western outpost or "forward operating base" in Sperwan Ghar.