They died Sunday night after stepping on improvised explosive device.
The National Defence Ministry (MoD) announced yesterday that two Romanian troops died Sunday night in Afghanistan, after a makeshift bomb exploded while they were on a patrol mission. The two troops were flown to hospital by a medical evacuation helicopter, but they suffered very serious injuries and died at around 11 p.m. Romanian time.
The two Romanians were identified as Vasile Popa, 28, on his second mission to Afghanistan, and Adrian Postelnicu, 34, who was on his first mission.
They were part of the Naval Forces Task Group and were carrying out a combat mission in eastern Afghanistan.
Warrant Officer 3rd Class Vasile Claudiu Popa was married. He had been a Defence Ministry staff since 2006. Popa had been awarded the Romanian Army General Staff’s Badge of Honor, NATO Medal article V and the Naval Forces’ Badge of Honor.
Master Sergeant Adrian Postelnicu had been working with the Defence Ministry since 2009. He had been bestowed the Naval Forces’ Badge of Honor.
“The National Defence Ministry leaders offer sincere condolences to the bereaved families,” reads a release issued by the ministry.
President Traian Basescu and PM Victor Ponta have both sent yesterday separate messages of condolences for the two military.
“I express my sincere solidarity with the two heroes’ families and I convey my sincerest condolences. May God rest them in peace!” the presidential message reads. The message sent by Premier Victor Ponta reads: “I have received with great sadness the news that two Romanian military lost their life in Afghanistan, during a patrol mission. I express my sympathy and solidarity to the military families and offer them my sincere condolences!”
Also, Defence Minister Mircea Dusa said in televised comments yesterday that other soldiers were killed in the explosion but provided no further details.
In his turn, U.S. Charge d’Affaires Duane Butcher said in a press release transmitted to Nine O’Clock yesterday: “I was deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of Warrant Officer 3 Claudiu Popa and Master Sergeant Adrian Postelnicu who were killed in the line of duty by an improvised explosive device during a mission in Afghanistan last night. I would like to extend my personal condolences and those of the United States of America to their family and friends, as well as to their fellow soldiers. Their sacrifice was made in pursuit of a noble cause, opposing extremism in Afghanistan and providing a better future for all its citizens. The valor of Romania’s soldiers in the NATO mission there is admirable and the United States is proud to have Romania as one of its closest allies.”
Also yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) released a note which reads that the institution is saddened by the news of the death of the two Romanian soldiers. “MFA extends its sympathy and sincere condolences to the grieving families and to all who knew and appreciated the two soldiers. MFA expresses profound respect for the two Romanian military heroes. May they rest in peace!”
Romania has 1,029 troops serving in the NATO mission in Afghanistan; 22 have been killed.
On Saturday, three American soldiers were killed by an Afghan wearing a security forces uniform after he turned his weapon against them in Paktia province, another apparent attack by a member of the Afghan forces against their international allies.
Killings by uniformed Afghans of foreign soldiers and civilians rose dramatically last year, when the so-called insider attacks left 62 personnel dead in 47 separate incidents, compared to 35 killed in 21 attacks a year earlier, according to NATO.