06/16/2011 08:13 EDT | Updated 08/16/2011 05:12 EDT

Canada Kandahar Mission Withdrawal Accelerates As Tanks Pull Back From Fields Of Operation


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Canadian tanks have begun withdrawing from the fields of Kandahar.

The first echelon of Leopard 2A6M battle tanks rolled through the gates of Kandahar Airfield today and more will follow over the next few days before the July end of combat deadline.

The armoured vehicles were first rushed to battlefield in late 2006 after troops found other weapons and had a tough time punching through thick mud wall compounds that the Taliban had turned into fortified positions.

As direct combat eased off, the 64 tonne armoured monsters were used to support infantry as they cleared villages of insurgents.

The Taliban would rarely fight when the tanks were around.

Maj. Eric Landry, the commander of C Squadron 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (12th Armoured Regiment), says bringing the Leopards back through the gates was a little bit of history of which he and his men are proud.