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Afghan memorial opens tomorrow

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OTTAWA—The Department of National Defence says its memorial for those killed in Canada's mission in Afghanistan will open to the public tomorrow afternoon.

People who aren't military members, veterans or their families will have to register for visits in advance but will be guided to the memorial in the department's new headquarters in western Ottawa when they arrive.

The centrepiece of the memorial is the cenotaph that once stood at Kandahar Airfield, a key base for much of Canada's military and aid effort in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014.

The Kandahar cenotaph honoured the more than 160 Canadians who died in the Afghanistan mission, on Afghan soil, and the Canadian Forces brought it back when the mission ended.

The department has taken heavy criticism for putting the memorial in the secure zone of its new building without an immediate plan to allow visits by people who don't work there.

Chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance said that was a bad call, but was based on the idea that the public would want to visit a separate national memorial closer to central Ottawa, which will be much more accessible.

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