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3 Afghans arrested in insider attack that killed Romanian soldiers

Soldiers salute during a memorial service for Romanian army Sgt.1st Class Iulian Dumitrescu and Sgt. Adrian Vizireanu at NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, May 9, 2016.The two were killed Saturday in an insider attack. A third soldier was wounded. Romania's defense minister Mihnea Motoc says three Afghans have been arrested in connection with the attack.

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By CHAD GARLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 9, 2016

KABUL, Afghanistan — Three Afghans have been arrested in connection with an apparent insider attack at a military base in Kandahar that left two Romanian soldiers dead and a third injured, the Romanian military said Monday.

Romania’s defense minister announced the arrests, The Associated Press reported from Bucharest. An Afghan Defense Ministry official would not confirm them.

Earlier Monday, officials gathered at NATO headquarters in Kabul for a memorial to the slain soldiers, who have been identified as Sgt. 1st Class Iulian Dumitrescu and Sgt. Adrian Vizireanu.

Romanian special operations troops were training Afghan police at the time of the attack Saturday morning, according to an initial investigation, Romania’s Defense Ministry said Saturday.

A NATO statement said individuals wearing Afghan uniforms opened fire on the victims. Coalition troops returned fire and killed the shooters.

The firefight lasted a few minutes and left three Romanian soldiers injured, investigators determined. Two later died of their wounds and a third, who was said to be in stable condition, was transferred to a hospital in Germany on Sunday.

Romania’s Defense Ministry said the slain soldiers will be promoted to the rank of second lieutenant posthumously. The Defense Ministry has also asked Romanian President Klaus Iohannis to award them the Star of Romania award, among the country’s highest honors, the AP reported.

The number of insider attacks against foreign troops, which reached a peak in 2012 with 64 coalition troops killed, has declined sharply in the past two years. Now the main targets are Afghan security forces.

Romania, which provides close to 600 troops to the NATO mission, has one of the biggest contingents of any coalition member.

“We continue to train, advise and assist the (Afghan forces) and do not view this incident as representative of the positive relationship between our forces,” NATO said.

garland.chad@stripes.com
Twitter: @chadgarland

 

Romanian soldiers bow their heads during a memorial service for Romanian army Sgt.1st Class Iulian Dumitrescu and Sgt. Adrian Vizireanu at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, May 9, 2016.The two were killed Saturday in an insider attack. A third soldier was wounded. Romania's defense minister Mihnea Motoc says three Afghans have been arrested in connection with the attack.
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