February 2nd, 2008 11:46 EST
Command of military efforts in southern Afghanistan handed to Canadians
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A Canadian has assumed the top post for international military efforts in southern Afghanistan.
Major General Mark Lessard took over the helm of Regional Command South in a ceremony at Kandahar air field on Saturday morning.
He replaces British Brigadier General Jacko Page who has been overseeing military efforts in the six provinces of southern Afghanistan since May.
Lessard praised Page's efforts but also said the time had come to fight back harder against the insurgents in the southern parts of Afghanistan.
Canadian and British troops have been particularly hard hit by rising violence in the south and Lessard acknoweldged 2007 was a difficult year.
But he said there is progress on the ground and his job will be to build on those efforts in the months to come.
By The Canadian Press