First wave of remaining troops return from Afghanistan

Soldiers disembark from their plane as they return home from Afghanistan at the Edmonton...

Soldiers disembark from their plane as they return home from Afghanistan at the Edmonton International Airport in Edmonton, Alta. on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. Approximately 16 soldiers arrived at the airport, part of Canada's final commitment of troops to Afghanistan. Amber Bracken/QMI Agency

Catherine Griwkowsky, Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 2:58 AM ET

EDMONTON - Tim Hortons and cellphones greet the first of the last soldiers.

Soldiers deployed in Afghanistan returned to home soil on Friday at the Shell AeroCentre. Of the 89 Canadian Armed Forces members who returned to Canada, 16 returned to Edmonton.

The homecoming was the first of several returning from a mission to prep Afghan security forces in their roles. The last troops are expected back in March 2014.

Capt. Matthew Hou said he was looking forward to seeing his partner and having a nice meal with a cold beer at CFB Edmonton after a 3.5-month deployment.

The former Vancouverite joked he never thought he'd be so happy to see the prairies.

In Kabul, he saw progress in his job as a logistics manager.

"There's for sure a broad mix of emotions -- pride for what we've done, a sense of accomplishment, but also some nostalgia," he said.

"I know it's only been a few days since we left Afghanistan, but we made some good relationships with the Afghans.


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