Canada requested to keep its military trainers in Afghanistan even after the planned NATO withdrawal in 2014
The NATO had earlier decided to pull out its combat troops serving in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission by the end of 2014. But it intends to provide military trainers to help the Afghan army and national police with technical assistance and combat training. The NATO also plans to provide a number of military advisors to the Afghan government post-withdrawal.
Canada used to be one of the major contributors to the ISAF until 2011. Close to 2,500 Canadian servicemen were part of the NATO force, including both combat troops and trainers. However, on July 2011 Canada withdrew all of its combat troops from Afghanistan. However, 950 servicemen remained there even after the withdrawal, as a part of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A), to provide training to the Afghan National Army (ANA), the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the Afghan Air Force.
The NATO is facing increasing difficulties in finding enough servicemen for the combat and training roles in Afghanistan, partly due to the changing political scenario in many of its member nations. France, which contributes close to 3,900 of its servicemen to the ISAF, had earlier announced its exit from Afghanistan by the end of this year. Despite the repeated request from NATO authorities, the French president, Francois Hollande has claimed that his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan is “non-negotiable”. The NATO chief however downplayed the French exit, saying that it will not be having a significant effect on the operational capabilities of the ISAF. He also pointed out that the French are going to increase their monetary assistance for the mission.