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September 25, 2020
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Head of state visits troops in Afghanistan

President Traian Basescu went on a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday and visited the Romanian troops stationed in Kandahar and Qalat, according to Agerpres. He was accompanied on the visit by Defence Minister Gabriel Oprea and US Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein. Basescu told troops that NATO forces, including Romanian ones, will not leave Afghanistan until they fulfil their mission and underlined that this should happen in 2014. “It was (Afghan President Hamid) Karazai’s objective that the Afghan army takes full control of the territory in 2014. What I can say for sure if that 2014 must not be seen as a deadline for NATO’s pullback from Afghanistan,” Basescu said. He added that NATO troops will stay until Afghanistan will be safe and the people will be able to see about their lives in safety. In his turn, Gitenstein voiced optimism about the 2014 power transfer objective. He voiced appreciation for the Romanian-US collaboration in Afghanistan and conveyed to Romanian soldiers a message of gratitude from the American people and President B Barack Obama. The president also voiced appreciation for Romanian troops’ efforts in the country and wished them to return home safe. Oprea and Gitenstein also congratulated the Romanian soldiers. Basescu added that by the end of December, the country will get to have 1,800 troops in Afghanistan, “one of the most important forces Romania has deployed across its borders.”

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