US troops in Afghanistan mark Memorial Day

US soldiers serving in Afghanistan remembered friends and colleagues.

Bagram Air Field: US soldiers serving in Afghanistan remembered friends and colleagues on Monday in solemn Memorial Day ceremonies to commemorate all of their nation`s war dead.

The nearly nine-year-old war raged on, meanwhile, with NATO forces launching airstrikes against Taliban insurgents who had forced government forces to abandon the Barg-e-Matal district in Nuristan, an eastern province on the border with Pakistan. No casualty figures were given.

At the sprawling Bagram Air Field, the largest US military base, about 400 soldiers in camouflage uniforms and brown combat boots stood at attention for a moment`s silence as Gen Stanley McChrystal, the commander of some 94,000 US troops in the country, led the ceremony.

A bugler played taps and a colour guard displayed the US flag, as well as the flags of units serving in eastern Afghanistan, where the base is located about 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Kabul.

A steel construction beam from the World Trade Centre destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks was unveiled, engraved with inscription "WTC 9 11 01". The beam was donated by citizens` group the Sons and Daughters of America of Breezy Point, a suburb in Queens, New York, where 29 victims of the September 11 attacks lived, according to a letter read out at the ceremony.

McChrystal praised the soldiers for their sacrifice, telling them: "You`re giving your time for other families."

"Today is about people. It is about the people we have lost and most importantly it`s about the people who have been left behind," McChrystal said, referring to the families of those who have died.

He later attended another ceremony at Camp Morehead, a smaller base for a commando unit.

Bureau Report