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News - Afghanistan - 18 Dec 2011

News Item 9 of 28 

Afghanistan: 18 Dec 2011
Last Canadian Combat Troops leave Kandahar

Credit: Shaw Media

OTTAWA – Some of the last Canadian soldiers serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan have made it home for Christmas.

Soldiers who made up the Mission Transition Task Force arrived Thursday in Ottawa to warm, wet weather and eager friends and family.

“We are completely out of Kandahar. The very last people to leave Kandahar have left Kandahar on the 12th of December. There are no more Canadians down there doing anything more,” said Brig.-Gen. Charles Lamarre, who commanded the task force.

The 1,500 person task force was the last rotation of troops in Kandahar and were responsible for packing up and shutting down military operations in the dangerous province. The group was deployed after the official pullout of the country in early July.

The departure marks the biggest logistical operation since World War II, with Canadian Forces having to move armoured vehicles, thousands of sea containers and communications infrastructure, for example.

Lamarre also praised his 1,500 person team for delivering on target and on time.

Top military brass including Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Chief of Defence Staff General Walt Natynczyk were also on hand to welcome the troops home.

“The return of Brig.-Gen. Lamarre and his troops signifies the successful close out of military operations in southern Afghanistan,” MacKay said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more proud of our work in southern Afghanistan and the work of Brig.-Gen. Lamarre and his team.”

Natynczyk thanked the troops for their work in closing out the massive mission in Kandahar.

“It’s great to have families reunited in time for the holidays,” he said.

The Canadian Forces remains in a training role in Kabul.




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