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Canadians divided on Afghan training mission: poll

Canadians are divided on the federal government's plan to keep soldiers in a non-combat role in Afghanistan, according to a new opinion poll.

The Angus Reid survey found that 48 per cent of respondents support the government's decision while 44 per cent disagree.

The Canadian government had planned to pull combat troops out of Afghanistan next year, but last month announced that up to 950 soldiers would stay on in a non-combat training role until 2014.

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"There's a little bit of an element of Canadians getting tired of this and feeling like there's really nothing that has been accomplished. And I think part of it has to do with the way they feel about the federal government," said Mario Canseco, vice-president of communications for Angus Reid.

Majorities of Albertans and British Columbians support the training mission while Atlantic Canadians and Quebeckers were most likely to disagree with extending the mission.

Sixty-two per cent of Canadians who voted for the Conservatives in the 2008 federal election support the non-combat mission, compared to half of Liberal voters.

The poll also found that 56 per cent of overall respondents oppose Canada's current military mission in Afghanistan, while 36 per cent are supportive.

Angus Reid's online survey of 2,023 Canadians was conducted between Dec. 3 and Dec. 6. It has a margin of error of 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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