GATINEAU, Quebec, March 30 (UPI) -- Canada will not extend its combat mission in Afghanistan past 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday.
At a meeting of the Group of Eight foreign minister in Gatineau, Quebec, the pair met separately and Harper ruled out the U.S. request, the Canwest News Service reported.
Canada has 2,800 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission, and parliament agreed to start bringing them home between July and December 2011.
In interviews with two Canadian television networks, Clinton said the withdrawal decision was disappointing.
"I'm not going to sit here and tell you we're happy about it because ... that wouldn't be telling you the truth," Clinton told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "We'd love to have Canada stay in this fight with us. But again, you know, you've got your own considerations and we respect that."
In an interview with CTV News, Clinton praised the past performance of Canadian troops.
"We would obviously like to see some form of support continue because the Canadian forces have a great reputation; they work really well with our American troops and the other members of our coalition," she said.