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Since the Canadian training mission in Afghanistan began last year, the federal government has said the purpose is to help Afghan army and police develop the skills needed to take responsibility for the country's security in 2014.

But shortly before visiting Afghanistan this past Christmas, Gov. Gen. David Johnston was told of another reason 950 Canadian troops have been deployed to Kabul and two other central Afghan cities: to free up United States soldiers for combat.

The statement is found in briefing notes that were prepared in advance of Johnston's visit to Afghanistan, Kuwait and HMCS Vancouver in the Mediterranean and obtained...

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