Romanian Soldiers Killed in Kandahar Bombing
Romanian Patrol Targeted by Suicide Bomber in Afghanistan
A Romanian patrol has been attacked by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan’s southern province of Khandahar. A vehicle packed with explosives was detonated by the suicide bomber at 11.00 am local time, Monday 30 April, in Daman district. The blast killed five Romanian soldiers and wounded sxiteen others. Students at a nearby Islamic religious school were also killed in the explosion.
As yet no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. While suicide bombing is a trademark Islamic State tactic, the attack took place in a Taliban-controlled region.
Last year, three Romanian soldiers were wounded by a car bomb near Kandahar airport.
Soldiers of the Romanian Land Forces (Romanian: Forțele Terestre Române) are currently deployed to Afghanistan as part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission. Romania has a contingent of around 650 troops in the Kandahar region and at heaquarters in Kabul, according to NATO sources. Romania has also supported the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces with US$500,000 annually since 2015.
Romanian soldiers have suffered repeated losses in Afghanistan over the years. 2nd Lieutenant Mădălin Stoica was killed on 15 September 2017 while on patrol in Kandahar. He was posthumously awarded the National Order “Steaua României” (the Star of Romania) of Knight’s rank, with military insignia, as a token of appreciation and gratitude for his devotion and sacrifice shown while deployed in Afghanistan. He is listed under “Heroes” on the website of the Romanian Ministry of National Defence.
Around 400 soldiers of the 280th Infantry Battalion recently returned from their Afghanistan deployment. Between August 2017 and February 2018, they were detailed to protect the NATO military base and personnel in Kandahar, including carrying actions alongside the Afghan National Security Forces, according to the Romanian MOND.
Image: Romanian Land Forces on patrol in Afghanistan in April 2009.