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Canadian Military Assumes Command of Afghanistan PRT

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2005 – The Canadian military assumed responsibility for the provisional reconstruction team located in Kandahar, Afghanistan, during an Aug. 16 ceremony.

The U.S. military had previously commanded the team.

"Reconstruction, along with security, is the top priority for coalition forces here in Afghanistan," said Army Brig. Gen. Jack Sterling, Combined Joint Task Force 76 deputy commander for support. "We welcome our brothers in arms from Canada. The Canadian forces are a world-class, fully capable, professional force, and it will be a privilege to work alongside them as they extend the work (started) here in Kandahar by the U.S. PRT.

"This transfer of authority marks the beginning of a significant transition to what will ultimately be a NATO-led effort," he continued. "The U.S. remains committed to doing our part in the strengthening of democracy here in the Kandahar province and throughout Afghanistan."

More than 1,500 Canadians are serving in Afghanistan. Of that number, more than 250 will serve at the Kandahar PRT, officials said.

In other news from Afghanistan, coalition aircraft flew 27 close air support and armed reconnaissance sorties Aug. 16 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. These missions included support to coalition and Afghan troops, the parliamentary and provincial election process, border security and reconstruction activities, officials said.

U.S. Air Force A-10s, a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle and a B-52 bomber flew close air support missions in support of coalition troops near Jalalabad. The B-52 fired four precision-guided JDAM missiles against enemy targets.

Other U.S. Air Force A-10s, a Predator and a B-52 provided close air support to coalition troops near Bermel, Kabul, Kandahar, and Shkin.

Five U.S. Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft also flew missions in support of operations in Afghanistan. British and French air force fighter aircraft also performed in a nontraditional ISR role.

U.S. Air Force C-17s and C-130s provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Horn of Africa. About 150 airlift sorties were flown, moving nearly 2,690 passengers and more than 360 tons of cargo. This included about 12,500 pounds of troop re-supply airdropped to coalition ground forces in eastern Afghanistan.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan and U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward news releases.)

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