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Canada's governor general visits troops in Afghanistan

(Xinhua)

16:46, December 26, 2011

OTTAWA, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Canada's Governor General David Johnston and top brass from Canada's Department of Defense visited Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday to extend Christmas greetings to Canadian soldiers and civilians serving there, Canadian media reported.

Johnston wished Canadian soldiers and civilians serving in Afghanistan the "best of luck in the completion of their mission," saying they are away from their families and friends at this time of the year and their sacrifice is tremendous.

He was joined on the trip by Defense Minister Peter MacKay and General Walt Natynczyk, chief of Canada's defense staff.

The governor general also met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other senior Afghan officials to discuss Canada's contribution to Afghanistan, while MacKay met with U.S. Gen. John R. Allen, who is commanding the international military presence there.

Canada ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in July and the last combat troops left Afghanistan by Dec. 20, but some 950 Canadian troops will remain at bases in Kabul and in western Afghanistan on a training mission. Their operation is slated to end in the spring of 2014.

A total of 158 Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, along with one Canadian diplomat and one Canadian journalist since Canada sent 3,000 strong troops to join its NATO allies in Afghanistan in 2002.

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