Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

December 25, 2010 15:16 ET

Minister MacKay Spends the Holidays in Kabul and Kandahar

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, AFGHANISTAN--(Marketwire - Dec. 25, 2010) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, accompanied by the Honourable Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Laurie Hawn, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, and General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, has concluded a two-day visit to Afghanistan, where he spent the holiday season with Canadian Forces members and diplomatic and development officials in Kandahar.

While in theatre, Minister MacKay spoke with the Commander of Regional Command (South), US Major-General James L. Terry, and Task Force Kandahar Commander, Canadian Brigadier-General Dean Milner.

Canada is ending its UN-mandated, NATO-led combat mission to Kandahar province in July 2011 and beginning a non-combat, Kabul-centred training role that will continue until 2014.

"The Canadian Forces serve and sacrifice to defend our country and assist the people of Afghanistan rebuild their country," said Minister MacKay. "Together with their partners from other government departments, as well as our allies, they are making tangible progress in a very challenging environment. It was an honour for me to spend this special time of year in Afghanistan with the men and women who represent our great country with such eminence."

Minister Oda met with the Representative of Canada in Kandahar, Tim Martin, and representatives from whole-of-government partners in the Afghan mission.

"The future of Afghanistan depends on the institutions and infrastructure that Canada is helping to create," added MacKay. "I continue to see improvement every time I come to Afghanistan, and am hopeful for the future."

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