Afghanistan: June 10, 2002


Even as Allied forces are finding caches of weapons and munitions in Afghanistan, more weapons are being imported. The Romanian government recently donated 1,000 Kalashnikov rifles and 300,000 rounds ammunition (along magazines and cleaning kits) to the new Afghan National Army currently being trained by US forces. US forces were photographed unloading crates of these weapons in Kabul on 6 June.

To the uneducated, this may seem to be a 'Coals to Newcastle' situation. Although far fewer weapons are on the streets than five months ago, Kalishnkov-toting men are still ubiquitous on Kabul's streets and it is often difficult to tell who is legally armed and who is not. Only the Afghan police are supposed to be armed inside of Kabul, but old habits die hard.

In the case of the ANA, it is better for Special Forces trainers to issue new weapons than rifles of dubious quality and wear salvaged from the battlefield or caches, particularly when many of them were cobbled together in the cottage industry gunshops of Afghanistan. However, the US has not hesitated to collect and reissue captured equipment in the past ( as at the end of Desert Storm), so one could surmise that anything scavenged from the Al-Qaeda caches is not going to go to waste.Afghan military experts estimate that the country will ultimately need about 50,000 troops.

Romania's contribution to the War on Terrorism started with basing and overflight permission for all U.S. and coalition partners on 19 September 2001. Three liaison officers arrived at CENTCOM on 10 December 12001. One of them is working in the Coalition Intelligence Center. For the ISAF, Romania has deployed one Military Police Platoon, and one C-130 aircraft. The Romanians have also donated non-lethal military supplies.

As of 24 May, Romania will soon deploy 10 staff officers one 405-man motorized infantry battalion and one 70-man Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) Company into Afghanistan. Additionally, one Infantry Mountain Company, four MiG 21-Lancer aircraft, and medical personnel have been offered. - Adam Geibel


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