Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

November 13, 2011 09:00 ET

Minister MacKay Returns From Afghanistan

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, AFGHANISTAN--(Marketwire - Nov. 13, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, accompanied by Senator Pamela Wallin and Major-General Jonathan Vance, Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, and Team Canada members have concluded a visit to Afghanistan. Minister MacKay held meetings with Afghanistan's Minister of Defence, General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Minister of Interior, General Bismillah Kahn Mohammadi and General John Allen, Commander International Security Assistance Force in Kabul.

Minister MacKay took part in a poignant, final Remembrance Day ceremony in Kandahar with members of the Canadian Forces and families of fallen service members and wounded Canadian soldiers.

"Today, I would like to express my enduring gratitude for the service of those who serve – and have served – to protect Canadians. We shall never forget the men and women in uniform who gave their lives on our behalf," said Minister MacKay.

The ceremony that took place at the Task Force Kandahar Cenotaph to Our Fallen commemorating those who have died in service to their country. The cenotaph has become a powerful symbol of sacrifice and is being returned to Canada before the end of this year.

"We have a solemn duty to remember those who served, especially those who have fallen in service to their country," said the Minister Mackay. "By placing the cenotaph within Canada we are providing a place for all Canadians to remember and reflect on the sacrifices that have been made to make the world a safer place."

While in theatre, Minister MacKay met with Canadian Forces personnel deployed to Kabul as part of the NATO Training Mission–Afghanistan (NTM-A) will the mandate to continue training Afghan National Security Forces in a non-combat role. Team Canada members on this visit included: George Canyon, Dave Gunning, Mark Cohon, and Jason Blanchard.

"I am proud of the work of our men and women in uniform and their commitment to helping build a more secure, stable and self-sufficient Afghanistan," added Minister MacKay.

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