Prime Minister Stephen Harper has confirmed that the federal government is considering a new training mission for Canadian troops that would see an unknown number of them remain in Afghanistan until 2014.

Speaking from Seoul, South Korea, ahead of the G20 meeting, Harper told CTV News that he's "looking at the 2011 to 2014 period" for the new mission.

If the government chooses to act on the proposal, Canadian forces would take up a training role in the war-torn country once its combat troops return home.

"As you know we've been in Afghanistan for a very long time," Harper said in a phone interview Wednesday evening.

"We do want to make sure that as we leave, what we leave behind is a situation that will ensure that the sacrifices that Canadians have made… are appropriately honoured," he said.

"I think that will require some additional training," he added. "It cannot involve any more combat."

Harper's comments come days after news reports surfaced stating that Canada could remain in Afghanistan past the summer 2011 withdrawal deadline mandated by Parliament.

The reports cited unnamed officials and said the federal government was considering a new mission to commence in 2011. It would see Canadian troops training Afghan security forces "behind the wire," or away from direct combat.

On Sunday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay suggested that a decision about an extended role for Canadian troops in Afghanistan could be made before Nov. 18.

NATO is due to hold a leaders' summit in Portugal on that date, and MacKay said the government may decide on Canada's future role in Afghanistan prior to that meeting.

Some 900 foreign security forces are needed to help train the Afghan military and police, MacKay said, and Ottawa is bearing that request in mind.

On Monday, Harper's spokesperson, Dimitri Soudas, told CTV's Power Play that after 2011, "the government is considering the three following options: aid, development, and training in a non-combat role."

"The hard work that's been done by Canadian soldiers, diplomats and development workers will continue, but in a very different way," Soudas said.