9 Amazing Images From Canada's 12-Year Mission In Afghanistan

The NATO mission in Afghanistan is gradually ending. America plans to fully withdraw its troops by the end of 2016, while other coalition countries have already left.

Canada, which is responsible for 50,000 troop deployments to Afghanistan over the past 12 years, formally ended its military presence in the country in March. To commemorate its role in Afghanistan, the Canadian Department of National Defence recently released new photographs from the Armed Forces Afghan mission.

We have gone through the pictures and found a few that show some of the changes in the country during the years of Canadian involvement in Afghanistan — and that give a sense of what life was like behind the front lines.

Canadian soldiers from the 3rd Battalion march towards Chinook helicopters which will transport them for Operation ANACONDA in 2002. It was Canada’s first combat mission since the Korean War.

Canada maintained an active combat role for a decade in Afghanistan. Here, Canadian gunners from X Battery, 5e Régiment d’artillerie Légère du Canada (5 RALC) fire a M-777 155mm howitzer in support of Coalition forces.

Canadian forces spent much of the end of their combat role in Kandahar.

Canada Afghanistan

Cpl. Shilo Adamson/Canadian Forces Combat Camera

The Canadian soldiers helped the locals, even outside of their combat responsibilities. Here, soldiers from the 3rd Battalion help an Afghan whose car was stuck in the snow.

A Canadian soldier on patrol greets an Afghan boy suffering from polio. He now has greater mobility due to a Canadian-led road improvement project.

Canadians also played a leading role in training the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police through Operation Attention, an effort focused around the cities of Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif.

As part of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), Canada trained National Police members in Kandahar to help stem the drug trade and provide security in the province.

PRT engineers also helped to ensure that water levels and circulation in wells throughout Kandahar remained constant.

Canada donated millions of dollars towards the creation of schools throughout Afghanistan, with a particular focus on Kandahar.

Afghanistan Canada Schools

Canadian Armed Forces/Aga Khan Development Network

The Canadian mission in Afghanistan is over. Now, the question is whether the gains that Canada and the rest of the NATO states helped achieved in Afghanistan can outlive their military presence in the country — and for how long.

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