A military ceremony was held on Wednesday in the Triumphal Arch Square in Bucharest to mark the end of the Romanian armed forces’ mission in Afghanistan.
The ceremony included a parade of pedestrian detachments representing the military branches of the Romanian armed forces that conducted missions in the war zone in Afghanistan from 2002 until June 2021.
Opening the parade was a detachment of wounded soldiers during the over 19 years of Romania’s participation in missions in Afghanistan. Joining the soldiers was a detachment of the Gendarmerie that has also conducted missions in the same war zone.
The battle flags of some commands, large units and units of the Romanian Army that have led or carried out missions in the same war zone were decorated.
During the ceremony, a moment of silence was observed and a wreath was laid in memory of the Romanian fallen soldiers in foreign theatres of operations, and aircraft flew over the monument.
The soldiers attending the event have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and the event was carried out in strict compliance with the legal provisions regarding the prevention and combating of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to MApN.
The last Romanian detachment from the Afghanistan theatre of operations made up of 140 soldiers returned to the country at the end of June.
*** In the 19 years of participation with troops in the Afghan theatre of operations, 27 Romanian soldiers lost their lives in combat actions, and over 200 were injured.
Romania started deploying troops to Afghanistan in 2002, both for Operation Enduring Freedom and in ISAF, standing in solidarity with the U.S., a strategic partner, and for the consolidation of the national position as a NATO partner, according to MApN.
In January 2002, the first Romanian military personnel – a platoon of military police, a C130 Hercules aircraft and liaison officers – were deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation ISAF, and in July 2002, the first Romanian infantry battalion was deployed for a combat mission abroad since WWII.
In 2002-2021, over 32,000 Romanian Army soldiers joined mission in Afghanistan, in six-month rotations, as part of both brigade-level command and control components and as part of battalions, companies, platoons, Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams (OMLT), special forces operations detachments, teams of ANA training instructors, CIMIC civil-military co-operation subunits.
Also deployed for the missions were logistical support from the Joint Logistics Command, departments of the Communications and Informatics Command, the Romanian Navy, staff personnel assigned to NATO and multinational commands. The Romanian Air Force provided command for two different missions at the Kabul International Airport (KAIA).
The missions of the Romanian military in the Afghanistan theatre of operations were coordinated by the Joint Forces Command with MApN.
Toward the end of the deployment, Romania became one of the most important troop contributing states to the Resolute Support Mission, with over 600 deployed soldiers, and in the last six years participation in the RSM was the main contribution priority with the Romanian armed forces in terms of defence operations abroad, Agerpres informs.
President Iohannis decorated battle flags of Romanian units participating in the theatres of operations
At a military ceremony on Wednesday at the Triumphal Arch Square in Bucharest, President Klaus Iohannis decorated the battle flags of the units having participated in the NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
For their results, the units were presented with the following medals part of Romania’s national orders:
* A National Order of Merit in the rank of Knight and war insignia went to the General Ioan Emanoil Florescu Joint Forces Command and the Command of the Forces for Special Operations;
* A Military Virtue Order in the rank of Grand Officer and war insignia went to the 280th Mechanised Infantry Battalion, the 300th Mechanised Infantry Battalion, and the 495th Parachute Battalion;
* A Military Virtue Order in the rank of Commander with war insignia went to the 33rd Mountain Troops Battalion, the 30th Mountain Troops Battalion, the 21st Mountain Troops Battalion, and the 2nd Infantry Battalion;
* A Military Virtue Order in the rank of Officer with war insignia went to the 341st Infantry Battalion;
* A Military Virtue Order in the rank of Knight with war insignia to the 151st Infantry Battalion, 812th Infantry Battalion, 811th Infantry Battalion, 634th Infantry Battalion, 307th Marine Battalion;
* An Aeronautical Virtue Order in the rank of Knight with war insignia to the 90th Air Transport Base, the Air Operational Component
* A Military Virtue Order in the rank of Knight with peace insignia to the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Gendarmerie.
During the ceremony, the names of the 27 Romanian soldiers killed in the line of duty in the theatre of operations in Afghanistan were solemnly called and a moment of silence was kept for them. President Klaus Iohannis laid a wreath in memory of the fallen heroes.
Also attending the ceremony that marked the end of Romania’s mission to Afghanistan were Prime Minister Florin Citu, members of his cabinet, Senate Chair Anca Dragu, and Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Ludovic Orban, Agerpres informs.
President Iohannis: Your mission will go down in the history books as the longest, most complex and important military operation abroad since WWII
The mission of the Romanian Armed Forces in Afghanistan will go down in the history books as the longest, most complex and important military operation abroad since WWII, Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday, telling the troops in attendance that they are “the heroes of our generations.”
He attended a military ceremony at the Triumphal Arch Square in Bucharest that marked the official end of Romania’s mission to Afghanistan.
“Today, we are marking a very special day, full of emotion and especially gratitude. Whenever we talk about Romania’s heroes, about those always ready for the ultimate sacrifice for our country, we may tend to think more about the past, but heroism and love of country are still today among the fundamental constitutive values of our nation and what more solid evidence do we need than the huge sacrifices of those who took part in one of the most difficult operations of our army. The mission of the Romanian Armed Forces in Afghanistan will go down in the history books as their longest, most complex and important military operation abroad since WWII,” said Iohannis.
According to the chief of state, the Romanian military made history in the theatre of operations in Afghanistan, and thanked them for their love of country, spirit of sacrifice, courage, selflessness and patriotism.
He mentioned that over the course of 19 years, more than 32,000 troops took part in operations in Afghanistan.
Iohannis pointed out that the participation in the military operation also represented an important strategic position of Romania, with the country thus joining the other NATO member states in the global war against terrorism and demonstrating genuine adherence to a set of Euro-Atlantic values.
He said 27 Romanian soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan and 227 others were injured, voicing gratitude for their sacrifice.
He thanked all the countries having joined Romania in missions in Afghanistan for the support provided, especially to the United States of America.
Iohannis thanked the Romanian Armed Forces, Gendarmerie and Police for the “exemplary” way in which they did their duty and showed that, as a token of appreciation for the high professionalism and special results of the Romanian military on specific missions in the Afghan theatre of operations, and for their contribution to the promotion of Romania’s image, he decorated 18 battle flags.
Citu: Gratitude, respect to the military who participated in Afghanistan actions; they are Romania’s heroes
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Florin Citu sent a message of “gratitude and respect” to the Romanian troops who participated for 19 years in missions carried out in Afghanistan.
“Today, at the end of the mission, I greeted at the Triumphal Arch, together with President Klaus Iohannis and Minister of National Defence Nicolae Ciuca, detachments of the military branches of the Romanian armed forces that carried out missions in Afghanistan from 2002 to this June. Thank you to all those who contributed to this vast military operation, through which Romania sided with the NATO member states in the global war on terrorism! We are grateful for their sacrifice to the 27 soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan, and also to the wounded soldiers, some of whom were marked for life. The heroes remain in our souls,” Citu wrote in his message posted on the Facebook page of the Romanian Government.
DefMin Ciuca: Romania succeeded earning the respect of its partners through its mission in Afghanistan
Romania succeeded earning the respect of its partners through its mission in Afghanistan, the Minister of National Defence, Nicolae Ciuca, told AGERPRES on Wednesday, after the military ceremony organized at the Triumphal Arch Square at the end of the respective mission.
“For Romania (…) it is a moment of gratitude for the manner in which the troops fulfilled their 19-year mission, a moment when we honour the memory of those who lost their lives, and also a moment when all those who were directly involved will draw a line and identify all these elements that had an impact on the profile of the Romanian Army, will identify those problems, those lessons, as we call them, which will later turn into decisions that can be acknowledged at the level of the entire army, from soldier to unit, from unit to larger unit and up to the highest level of leadership of the ministry. (…) Romania has learned that when it is part of an alliance, of a coalition, it has all the ingredients needed to consolidate a trust profile within these structures, it learned that nothing is free, everything has a cost,” said Nicolae Ciuca.
He underscored that Romania has made efforts at the national level, paid with human lives, but also financial costs, earning the respect of its allies. According to the minister, Romania’s participation in the NATO Resolute Support mission in the theatre of operations in Afghanistan cost about 3 billion lei.
Nicolae Ciuca thanked all those who supported the Ministry of Defence in the 19 years of mission in Afghanistan, colleagues from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the troops and their families, as well as those who participated in Wednesday’s ceremony at the Triumphal Arch, including President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Florin Citu, the President of the Senate, Anca Dragu, and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Ludovic Orban.