No Injured Bulgarian Rangers in Afghanistan Rocket AttackDefense | March 18, 2013, Monday // 10:12| views
Bulgarian caretaker Defense Minister, Todor Tagarev. Photo by BGNES
The Kandahar airport where Bulgarian NATO contingent is stationed has been under rocket fire, the Bulgarian caretaker Defense Minister, Todor Tagarev, announced Monday.
Speaking for the Bulgarian National Television, BNT, Tagarev explained the incident happened just ahead of the rotation of Bulgarian rangers in Afghanistan.
None of the some three hundred Bulgarian rangers at the Kandahar Air Base have been wounded, according to the Minister. There is no material damage either.
The worst incident with Bulgarian soldiers in Afghanistan to date occurred in January 2010, when four Bulgarians were wounded in a Taliban rocket attack, with one of them subsequently losing his hand. The incident coincided with the visit to the base of then Bulgarian Defense Minister and later Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikolay Mladenov.
Tagarev officially welcomed back home Sunday 176 rangers from the country's NATO-led ISAF forces in Afghanistan. He says they are in excellent health condition and their spirit is high.
Another group of them has landed Monday morning. The official welcoming ceremony for them will be held on March 26 in the town of Kazanlak.
Bulgaria's former government adopted in mid-January a long anticipated decision to terminate partly the Bulgarian military mission in the NATO-led ISAF forces in Afghanistan.
The decision came in accordance with strategy for transformation of Bulgaria's participation in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, which was approved by the government at the end of 2011, following a decision by the USA under President Barack Obama's plan for a major withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014.
Bulgaria's military presence in Afghanistan initially consisted of 530 rangers, and was later boosted to 600.
By the end of 2014 Bulgaria will continue to maintain its security company guarding the interior zone at the Kandahar Airport as well its teams of advisers to the local security forces.
After 2014, Bulgaria will continue its participation in NATO's mission in Afghanistan only with teams of advisers stationed on the ground with the Afghan security forces and the local authorities.