The 812th Romanian Infantry Battalion uncovered three caches and two caves full of weapons between the 16th and 17th, during Operation "Carpathian Lightning". The haul near Qalat (capital of southern Zabul province) included 3,000 107mm recoilless rifle rockets, 250,000 rounds of 12.7mm machinegun ammunition, about 1,000,000 rounds of assorted small arms ammunition and mines. This would make it the largest cache found to date by the coalition forces in Afghanistan.
The operation was the third for the Romanian forces, who usually carry out "force protection" for the coalition base in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan.
Romanian and American forces, backed by helicopters, held six men in a mountainous area in the east of Kandahar after they opened light artillery fire on the coalition forces. A large amount of weaponry was captured, including machine guns, rocket launchers, mortars and anti-tank mines.
The first Romanian mission (8 to 13 March, into the Zobol province) was to find and destroy a suspected enemy cache site inside of a cave. Along with elements of the 82nd Airborne, they were successful. A secondary mission was to provide humanitarian aid to nearby villages. The 485 Romanian infantrymen arrived in May 2002 and replaced Canadian troops at Kandahar. - Adam Geibel