The Foreign Affairs Minister says the Harper government is not misleading on the status of the war in Afghanistan, stressing that leaked U.S. documents that tell a dark story of the fight against the Taliban could endanger troops on the ground.
At a news conference Monday morning to announce stricter sanctions on Iran, Lawrence Cannon was asked repeatedly by reporters about the 92,000 pages of military documents leaked to several international newspapers. The files tell of the use of heat-seeking missiles by the Taliban, perhaps aided by Pakistan.
Mr. Cannon would not answer specifically whether Pakistan is considered a friend of Canada. Rather, he noted several times that Canada was co-operating with Pakistan on several issues, mentioning a "border prosperity" initiative.
"Commenting on documents that are leaked by U.S officials, ones presumed to be leaked by U.S. officials - you are not going to get an opinion from me on those documents," he said.
He warned, however, of the consequence of such leaks. "The government is concerned that operational leaks could endanger the lives of our men and women in Afghanistan."
The Foreign Affairs Minister said he wanted to reassure Canadians that "we are extremely transparent" and that there are "institutions in place" ensuring adequate information about the Afghan mission is passed on to Canadians.
And he would not comment on reports a Canadian was among NATO soldiers killed in a helicopter that was hit by a heat-seeking Taliban weapon. Instead, Mr. Cannon noted that the military investigates any incident involving Canadians.