In less than two years, Canadian troops will withdraw from Afghanistan.
Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk has ordered preparations that would see 2,800 soldiers out of the country by the summer of 2011.
The decision, mandated by Parliament, will be carried out whether or not President Barack Obama asks Canada to extend its mission.
Canada first sent troops to Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and increased its deployment after declining a U.S. request to dispatch troops to Iraq.
Since 2002, 133 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died.
With files from the Canadian Press.