|Peter MacKay participating in Canada Day festivities in Kabul, July 1, 2012. (HO)
Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Julian Fantino, associate defence minister, celebrated Canada Day with Canadian Forces members in Afghanistan Sunday.
"It is with the utmost pride that I have the opportunity to celebrate Canada Day with the brave men and women of the Canadian Forces," MacKay said in a statement. "Our personnel serving in Afghanistan continue to make great strides in their mission.
"Their strength, perseverance and leadership are a source of pride and inspiration for Canadians everywhere, and remind of the greatness that our country can achieve."
Fantino echoed McKay's sentiment, adding that "the effort, integrity and unparalleled dedication of all Canadian Forces members to the fulfillment of their mission whether at home or abroad is truly remarkable."
MacKay and Fantino met with Canadian Forces brass and personnel, attended a medal ceremony for Canadian troops, met with Afghanistan's Minister of the Interior Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and participated in a town hall meeting. MacKay also met with his Afghan counterpart, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak.
Canada's NATO-led combat mission in Kandahar Province ended last year and Canadian Forces members have since been involved in a non-combat training role that will continue until 2014.
Operation Attention, Canada's participation in the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A), provides training and professional development services to the national security forces of Afghanistan, especially the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP).