Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay on Tuesday identified Iran as the origin of weapons used by rebels against the international coalition in Afghanistan.
"We have asked the Iranians to deal with the problem because it is very hard to cut the supply lines when you have, in another country, people who are providing the arms for use against Canadian forces and others" in the 39-nation NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, he said.
Speaking during a visit to the military base at Kandahar broadcast on Radio-Canada television, MacKay said Canada was particularly concerned about improvised explosive devices from Iran, which have fallen into the hands of Taliban rebel forces.
Most of the 73 Canadian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since 2002 were killed by such explosives.
MacKay, accompanied by Canadian Chief of Defense Staff General Rick Hillier, made a surprise visit to Kandahar on Tuesday to celebrate the Christmas holiday with some of the 2,500 Canadian troops in the country.
Relations between Ottawa and Tehran, in a poor state ever since the death in 2003 of Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra while in detention in Iran, worsened with the expulsion of the Canadian ambassador to Tehran early this month.
Shortly after MacKay's press conference, rockets were fired toward the military base but caused no damage, Radio-Canada reported.
Two rockets were fired toward the base during MacKay's last visit to Afghanistan on Nov. 6.
NATIONAL EPICENTER: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike warned of the risk of a huge rise in infections in the capital and asked residents to avoid non-essential outings Japan is to set up a COVID-19 task force, the government said yesterday, as it warned of a high risk of a wide spread of the virus, but the economy minister said the government was not immediately thinking of declaring a state of emergency. Japan had reported 1,313 domestic cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday morning, separate from 712 cases on a cruise ship that was moored near Tokyo last month, broadcaster NHK reported. There have been 45 domestic deaths and 10 from the cruise ship. “I told [Japanese] Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe there is a high risk of coronavirus spreading widely,” Japanese
GHOST TOWNS: From the normally bustling Mumbai to Ahmedabad in the west, streets normally thronged with smoke-belching traffic have fallen almost silent Anxious Indians on Wednesday raced for essentials as an unprecedented 21-day lockdown across the nation of 1.3 billion people all but emptied normally traffic-choked roads. Many shelves in stores in New Delhi and Mumbai were stripped bare of daily staples, such as lentils and rice, as the world’s second-most populous nation lurched into a shutdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. “It’s getting increasingly difficult to source produce,” Mumbai vegetable seller Rafiq Ansari, 35, said. “We are going to face major shortages in the days ahead and at the same time prices are also going up — tomatoes have more than doubled
Social distancing appears to be slowing the spread of the coronavirus in New York, the epicenter of America’s pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday. In his daily update on efforts to contain the deadly pandemic, Cuomo said projection rates suggested that hospitalizations were increasing at a slower rate than before. “The arrows are headed in the right direction,” he told reporters. New York was still “on the way up the mountain” and would not meet the peak of declared cases for another three weeks, Cuomo said. However, he added that projections showed that hospitalizations were doubling every 4.7 days as opposed
Medical staff in the US’ COVID-19 hotbed New York are struggling with long hours and a dire need for protective equipment — and as infections surge, they increasingly fear for their own safety. Doctors and nurses are working around the clock caring for patients hit by the fast-spreading infection, risking their lives on the front lines of the global crisis. The same week the US became the new epicenter of the pandemic — posting more than 100,000 confirmed cases of infection, including more than 1,500 deaths — Kious Kelly, a nurse manager at a Manhattan hospital, succumbed to a fatal case of