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A military ceremony will be held today in the Triumphal Arch Square in Bucharest to mark the end of the Romanian armed forces' mission in Afghanistan.

According to the Defence Ministry (MApN), the ceremony will include 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 will be a detachment of wounded soldiers during the over 19 years of Romania's participation in missions in Afghanistan. Joining the soldiers will be 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 will be decorated.

During the ceremony, a moment of silence will be observed and a wreath will be laid in memory of the Romanian fallen soldiers in foreign theatres of operations, and aircraft will fly over the monument.

The soldiers attending the event have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and the event is 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 (RO - editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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