In a speech held on the occasion of the inauguration of the Ahghanistan photo exhibit sponsored by Radio Romania, Dean Thompson, the U.S. Charge d’affaires in Bucharest hailed on Friday Romania’s contribution to the 12 years of combat in Afghanistan and said that Romanian troops have shown great strength, ability and courage in over a decade of service in Afghanistan. “During our time in Afghanistan, the United States and Romania have worked together to give the Afghan people hope and a chance for a secure future. This photography exhibit is here to remind us of hard work and sacrifices made in the name of building a peaceful Afghanistan”.
“Nearly 25,000 Romanian troops have served in Afghanistan, a testament to Romania’s steadfast commitment to the mission. This commitment is not, however, without deep sacrifice. We honor the 23 soldiers who lost their lives and the 129 who were wounded to bring about the improvements seen in Afghanistan today, “ said Mr. Thompson.
He mentioned Romania’s help to take down a terrorist network, train the Afghan security forces and to defend against the Taliban insurgency. “We welcome your government’s pledge to continue post-combat mentoring and advising of Afghans in 2015”.
“Because of Romania’s efforts, millions more Afghan children, especially girls, go to school today than at the start of the war. Millions more Afghan citizens and businesses enjoy reliable electricity. And Afghans enjoy better access to healthcare. In short, Afghanistan and the world are safer thanks to you,” Dean Thompson pointed out.
He saluted the strengthening of the U.S. –Romanian Strategic Partnership and stressed that this partnership goes beyond Afghanistan.
“Our joint defense facility at Deveselu, our two countries’ contribution to NATO’s missile defense, is on pace to become operational next year. Romania hosts a contingent of U.S. Marines who train with you and your country’s neighbors at Mihail Kogalniceanu military base. Mihail Kogalniceanu is also the primary stopover point for U.S. troops returning from Afghanistan. Our navies and Special Forces train together regularly. And we will continue to support your government’s goal of adding highly advanced F-16 fighter planes to your arsenal,” told the U.S. charge d’affaires.
In his opinion, “there is no doubt that NATO is a stronger alliance with Romanian in it”.
“Romania joined the Atlantic Alliance ten years ago, and has strengthened it immeasurably. Your airmen watch over NATO’s eastern flank as contributors to the alliance’s high tech fleet of Early Warning and Control observation aircraft. You help fund and maintain the Strategic Airlift Capability’s impressive heavy airlift wing of cargo aircraft. Romania contributes to the NATO Response Force, a highly ready and technologically advanced contingent that the Alliance can deploy quickly wherever needed. And you have joined your allies to help NATO develop an advanced ground surveillance capability”, Mr. Thompson also said.
In conclusion, the U.S. diplomat again congratulated Romania’s brave armed forces on a job well and honorably done in Afghanistan. “Romanian soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder, risking their lives with us in dangerous and trying times, and for that we are grateful”.