Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay pauses while speaking to journalists at the NATO Summit in Chicago, May 20, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/CHRIS WATTIE
But Prime Minister Stephen Harper might offer the war-torn nation cold hard cash instead.
Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters Sunday he doesn't want Canada -- and other NATO allies -- rushing for the exits in two years' time.
"I hope that Canada would be in a position to contribute to training activities also after 2014. Already today, Canada conducts training activities in Afghanistan and we appreciate that contribution," he said at the start of the 25th NATO summit, being held at the McCormick Place convention centre here.
"I hope to see a continued contribution after 2014, but having said that, let me also stress that at the end of the day it is a national decision."
One issue looming large for the NATO allies is an expected $4.1 billion annual cost for the next 10 years to maintain Afghanistan's fledging security forces in order to keep the country stable when NATO leaves.
Although the United States intends to shoulder about two-thirds of that cost, other NATO members are being asked to pay up too.
Reports suggest Canada was asked for $125 million annually for a decade. Britain, which was asked for $200 million, has pledged $110 million instead.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday Harper will have an announcement to make "very soon" on what Canada can and will do for Afghanistan moving forward, but he wouldn't hint at what it might be.
"We will make our decision known very shortly as to what 2014 and beyond will look like for Canada," MacKay said, adding sustainability "doesn't necessarily mean troop contributions or trainers.
"That means giving the Afghans the resources they need to continue to make progress and hold the fort."
The 25th NATO summit -- the third ever in the U.S. -- is focussed almost exclusively on how to wind down the 11-year-old war.
The United States has indicated it will likely end its combat mission next year, and France's new socialist President Francois Hollande won the election in that country recently on a campaign promise to end that country's mission in Afghanistan a year earlier than expected.
Also on the agenda for NATO leaders is reshaping the nature of the defence organization itself.
Rasmussen -- with Canada's support -- is pushing the idea of "smart defence," which is essentially an answer to the West slashing defence budgets with each member nation specializing in different aspects of NATO's fighting force.
US President Barack Obama said NATO pledged to reinvent itself for the 21st century at its last summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
"In Lisbon, we committed, and now in Chicago we are delivering," he said at the start of the two-day summit. "In these difficult economic times, we can work together and pool our resources.
"NATO is a force multiplier and the initiatives we will endorse today will allow each of our nations to accomplish what none of us could achieve alone."
Outside the summit grounds, thousands of protesters marched through the streets railing against NATO, the war in Afghanistan, corporate greed and other grievances.
Some 3,100 police officers were on the streets and five people were arrested Saturday on domestic terrorism charges. At least three of the men were allegedly planning to hurl Molatov cocktails at Obama's re-election headquarters, the home of Chicago's mayor and police targets.
Rasmussen said he respects people's right to protest peacefully, and added he had dispatched one of his top officers to meet with several of the protest groups and hear their concerns.
The NATO summit wraps up Monday.