Statement Article from  National Defence and the Canadian Forces

Minister of National Defence Statement to Mark Flag Lowering in Afghanistan

OTTAWA - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence, today issued the following statement to mark the lowering of the Canadian Flag by the Canadian Armed Forces at the closing of Canada’s contribution to the NATO training mission in Afghanistan:

“As a symbol of pride and strength, our nation’s flag has flown in Afghanistan over the past twelve years as a unifying symbol for the Canadian Armed Forces.  In recognition of its lowering today, and on behalf of the Government of Canada, I thank the more than 40,000 members of the CAF who have served on this mission; your hard work and determination helped to defend lives against the threat of terrorism and advanced Canada's values and national interests.

“The Government takes great pride in the work of the CAF and all that you have achieved in Afghanistan; accomplishments which have been earned from great sacrifice.  The strength of your commitment and that of your families, to ongoing operations, and to the challenging tasks that your country has asked of you, has brought great honour both at home and abroad.  The lowering of our flag marks the end of this significant chapter in our history as a nation.

“The determination, adaptability and resolve of the CAF have been evident as our operations have evolved and made us a stronger nation. Canada’s contribution to the UN-mandated, NATO-led mission cannot be understated. Canadians and the Government of Canada believe in the utmost importance of democratic values and global international security; no recent activity emphasizes this commitment more than our successes and sacrifices made in Afghanistan. Our role has been integral to providing the secure environment necessary for the Afghan people and for institutions to rebuild.  From the first arrival of our ships in the Persian Gulf, to our combat and leadership roles in Kandahar Province, to our most recent training operation in Kabul, the contribution of the CAF will be honoured by Canadians as we express our heartfelt thanks for the strength of this commitment.”

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