Romanians Send Supplies to Equip Growing
Afghan Army

By Staff Sgt. Robert R. Ramon, USA
Special to AFPS

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 19, 2004 – Much-needed donations for the rapidly growing Afghan National Army have arrived at Kabul International Airport here.

A massive Antonov AN-124 Condor heavy transport aircraft touched down at the airport, as U.S. and Romanian soldiers waited anxiously to unload the nearly 90 tons of supplies and equipment donated by the Romanian government.

"The reason why these donations are so critical to the ANA is to ensure there’s security here so the infrastructure of the government can be built up," said Capt. Mandee Barbee, donations manager for the logistics and resources section of the Office of Military Cooperation – Afghanistan.

OMC-A oversees Task Force Phoenix, the contingent of U.S. and coalition troops that trains the ANA.

This is the fifth donation to the ANA by the Romanian government. Consisting mainly of weapons, weapons systems components and ammunition, this latest shipment arrived just in time for an Afghan force that is training and performing real-world missions simultaneously.

"We have needs for ammunition that will be used for training and also for security," said Barbee.

Donations from Eastern European countries such as Romania are particularly important to the ANA, since the army is primarily equipped with Soviet equipment originally supplied during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan from 1978 to 1989.

"The reason that it’s so important for the ANA to receive donations from our international community and Soviet-style weapons is because, right now, the weapons we have are mostly Soviet-based," said Barbee. "Getting this ammunition helps supplement what we already have on the ground."

Although the donations are a big help, more will be necessary to continue supplying the rapidly growing ANA, Barbee said.