Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

May 14, 2008 09:27 ET

DND: New Commander for Task Force Afghanistan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 14, 2008) - In a short ceremony held today in Kandahar Airfield (KAF), Brigadier-General Denis Thompson assumed command of Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg), succeeding Brigadier-General Guy Laroche who departs Afghanistan after 10 months in command. The change of command was conducted in the presence of Lieutenant-General Michel Gauthier, commander of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM).

"The security situation in Kandahar is improving. Together with our Afghan partners, we have significantly expanded the Afghan Development Zone... Afghans are returning to areas that have been abandoned years ago and are making a new life for themselves and their families," says Brigadier-General Laroche. "As we hand over the torch to Brigadier-General Thompson and his team, we wish all of them a safe and successful mission."

Throughout his career, Brigadier-General Thompson served with the three battalions of The Royal Canadian Regiment. He commanded the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, and deployed with them in 2001 as the Battle Group Commander in Bosnia. Prior to assuming command of JTF-Afg, Brigadier-General Thompson held the position of Commander, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, in Petawawa, Ontario.

During the change of command ceremony, Brigadier-General Thompson pledged to maintain the professional standard established by all the Canadian Task Forces that have preceded him, and to address the changing nature of the mission and the progress required along the security, governance, and development lines of operation.

The new Commander also pledged to continue working closely with the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF).

"To our brothers in arms in the Afghan National Security Forces, we will continue to work together in this just struggle against the tyranny threatening your majestic country," said Brigadier-General Thompson. "I am particularly excited about the prospect of deepening our partnership and further marginalizing the insurgency."

The CF contribution to Task Force Afghanistan consists of approximately 2,500 personnel from units across Canada including the Canadian Battle Group, numerous support elements, the Operational Mentor Liaison Team (OMLT), and a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) that is also supported by officials from Foreign Affairs Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency, Correctional Service of Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Canada and coalition partners are leaders in the multinational effort to help Afghans achieve peace and security so they can build a self-sustaining democratic nation.

NOTE TO EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS:

For a biography of Brig.-Gen Thompson, please visit:
http://www.forces.gc.ca/dsa/app_bio/engraph/FSeniorOfficerBiographyView_e.asp?SectChoice=1&mAction=View&mBiographyID=631

Photographs will be available shortly on the Combat Camera Website at: www.combatcamera.ca

Contact Information

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    After hours: 613-792-2973
    www.forces.gc.ca