The mission in Afghanistan will end for the Ministry of National Defense only when all Romanian soldiers will be safe at home, Minister Nicolae Ciuca said, according to a recording sent on Thursday by the Ministry of National Defense (MApN), agerpres.ro confirms.
"Together with our NATO allies, along with supporting the peace process in the region, it is important to pay special attention to measures to ensure the protection of NATO forces in Afghanistan during the military withdrawal process," Ciuca said.
According to the minister, given that Romania is one of the "most important" contributing states with troops to the Resolute Support Mission, with over 600 soldiers deployed in the theater of operations, it "will act in accordance with allied decisions as regards the withdrawal schedule".
Romania has been participating in missions in the area since 2001, making a "long-term commitment to the stability and security of Afghanistan," Nicolae Ciuca said.
"During the nearly 20 years, tens of thousands of Romanian soldiers have performed missions in the Afghan theater of operations," he said, adding that "the Romanian Army soldiers demonstrated there, in the most difficult theater of military operations since World War II, professionalism, loyalty, solidarity and, most importantly, a spirit of sacrifice on behalf of Romania".
The Minister also spoke about the soldiers who died in Afghanistan, "27 heroes of Romania, who paid the hardest price, in the name of our freedom," and recalled that over 200 soldiers from the Romanian Army were wounded in these missions.
According to the Ministry of National Defense website, 649 Romanian soldiers are currently participating in the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.