A senior general involved in recent plans to send soldiers to Afghanistan has tendered his resignation, just days after the deployment was announced.
Major-General Cameron Ross, director-general of international security policy, tendered his resignation "for personal reasons," two days after the decision was made to send two units, each consisting of up to 1,500 troops, to the country, said Captain Jason Steeves, a spokesman for the general.
However, other sources said several senior members of the military were concerned about the mission's safety.
Chief of Defence Staff Raymond Henault has not accepted Gen. Ross's resignation, a source said.
"From what I heard, there were some who were concerned that it was a dangerous mission," the source said. The source added, however, that many senior members of the military were enthusiastic about the plan.
Gen. Ross was one of the main actors in developing the blueprint for sending troops to Afghanistan and has been involved in peacekeeping missions. He helped lead Canadian troops in a Golan Heights peacekeeping action in 1999.
Sources said the decision to send troops was made quickly on Wednesday, and that many senior-level officers were not informed of the move until just minutes before it was announced. Other sources told The Canadian Press that key senior military officials were not consulted about the deployment.
However, an official said Gen. Ross could not have been surprised by the decision because he worked on the plan.
"It may have been somewhat of a short [timeline] but it should have come as no surprise that the decision was made," said the official who asked to remain unidentified.
About 4,000 soldiers from several countries are in Afghanistan. Fourteen have been killed, including seven German soldiers in a helicopter crash. Four Canadian soldiers were killed when a U.S. pilot dropped a bomb on them while the Canadians were involved in a training exercise.
A spokesman for Defence Minister John McCallum said Gen. Ross would be missed. "It was with regret that we learned of his decision," said Randy Mylyk, adding that Gen. Ross was a regular adviser to Mr. McCallum.
Gen. Ross was to leave the Armed Forces in June, at the mandatory retirement age of 55. He was responsible for planning international defence and security relations and was involved in negotiations that led to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon.
The plan will have Canada contribute two 1,500-troop units to the action in Afghanistan, with each unit serving for six months.