PM Harper to seek consensus for troop extension

Canada's military mission in Afghanistan will not be extended beyond 2009 without a consensus in the country and the Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday. Harper's comments come a day after NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, speaking at an international conference in Montreal, had voiced his hopes that Canada would maintain its troop contingent in the war-ravaged country beyond the 2009 deadline. "The mission that we've extended ends in February 2009. I will want to see some degree of consensus among Canadians about how we move forward after that. I would hope that the view of Canadians is not to simply abandon Afghanistan," Harper said. "I think there's some expectation that there would be a new role after February 2009 but obviously those decisions have yet to be taken."