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UPDATED: 08:58, March 01, 2006
U.S. military hands over Coalition command of southwest Afghanistan to Canada
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U.S. military handed over Tuesday the command of Coalition forces in southwestern region of Afghanistan to Canadian troops, commander of Coalition in Afghanistan Gen. Eikenberry said.

"Today U.S. military will hand over the command of Coalition in southwestern region to Canadian troops under the lead of NATO,"

Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry said in the transferring ceremony held in Kandahar airport.

"Canadian forces, together with U.S. forces, have taken active part in the fight against Taliban. In the future, U.S. military will continue to strengthen cooperation with Canadian troops under the command of Canadian force in airforce, logistics, intelligence and so on," he added.

About 6,000 NATO-led International Security Assistance Force ( ISAF) troops have been deployed to the southwestern part of Afghanistan including Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan and Helmand provinces where the intensified attacks from Taliban always focus on.

About 19,000 strong U.S.-led Coalition troops stayed in Afghanistan since the collapse of Taliban in late 2001, to continue the further cleanup operations. This year, U.S. military decided to decrease the number to about 16,000 and encouraged ISAF troops to enter southern region to join the anti-terrorism operation.

ISAF from 2001 has about 9,000 troops in Afghanistan for peace keeping work, while this year 6,000 more troops will arrive step by step and will be deployed especially in the southern region to take part in the fight against terrorism with U.S. military.

Source: Xinhua

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