Camp Julien, which was Canada's first military base in Afghanistan and once housed about 2,000 Canadian troops, has officially closed.

On Tuesday, the base near Kabul was ceremonially transferred to the local government as the last remaining Canadians prepared to join the bulk of the force at a new base near Kandahar.

Canadian Forces officials said the troops were no longer needed around the northern city, while violence still plagues the area surrounding Kandahar, about 540 kilometres to the south.

Camp Julien opened in August 2003, when Canada first deployed soldiers to Kabul.

At its peak, it housed 4,000 soldiers – including 2,000 Canadians – who were serving with NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the U.S.-led multinational coalition.

More than 6,000 Canadian Forces personnel have served in six-month rotations at the base.

The camp was named after Cpl. George Julien, a soldier of French-Canadian descent who received a medal for his heroic actions in Korea in May 1953.

Most of the 680 troops that Canada has in Afghanistan recently moved to the U.S.-led multinational base at the airport in Kandahar.

Ottawa intends to boost its total force in Kandahar to about 2,000 personnel by February 2006.