Canadian special forces join war on terrorism
OTTAWA Members of a Canadian special forces unit have gone to the Middle East location to join the U.S.-led military campaign against terrorism, Defense Minister Art Eggleton said Thursday.
The soldiers of the covert anti-terrorist unit JTF-2 were part of the Canadian contribution of 2,000 military personnel, including six ships and six transport and surveillance planes, announced in October.
"They're pre-positioned in the Middle East at the moment," Eggleton said after a breakfast speech to the Toronto Board of Trade. "I can't tell you where, and I can't tell you when exactly they would be going in if and when."
Eggleton refused to say how many JTF-2 members would join special forces troops from other countries for possible operations in Afghanistan.
The JTF-2 unit is believed to number about 250, though officials have never confirmed the figure. It was created in the early 1990s when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police turned over counterterrorism operations to the military.
Four Canadian warships are escorting U.S. carrier groups in the Arabian Sea, while two Canadian frigates are with NATO flotillas.
The Canadian air force has offered two surveillance planes and three C-130 Hercules transport planes. A Canadian Airbus transport has started flying supplies to the region from Germany.
In addition, another 1,000 Canadian troops have been ordered to standby status for a mission to help stabilize post-war Afghanistan.
December 7, 2001