Afghan and Pakistani government officials will attend for the first time a meeting in Madrid on Monday with special envoys from 33 other nations, including the United States and China, to discuss peace efforts in the war-torn region, a senior Spanish diplomat said. FULL POST
MADRID, Spain – The Spanish government will send up to 511 more troops to Afghanistan for the NATO-led security force, pending approval from parliament, the Defense Ministry said Friday.
The move was expected after Socialist government officials here recently discussed possible troop increases in response to requests, including from the Obama administration in the United States, for additional troops to fight the Taliban. The increase would boost Spain's overall troop level in Afghanistan to 1,600, a Defense Ministry spokeswoman told CNN. FULL POST
MADRID, Spain - A Spanish military vehicle struck a mine in Afghanistan Monday while on a mission to distribute aid, and the explosion killed one soldier and wounded six others, a Spanish Defense Ministry spokesman told CNN.
Killed was a Colombian national, Jon Felipe Romero Meneses, in his early twenties, serving with Spain's armed forces. The identities and conditions of the six wounded soldiers were not immediately available, said the spokeswoman, who by custom is not identified.
The blast happened in Qala-i-Naw province in Afghanistan, where the Spanish troops were escorting a U.N. World Food Programme convoy to distribute aid. Spain has more than 800 troops in Afghanistan serving in the NATO-led mission and the government has recently committed to send several hundred more, partly in response to the Obama administration's request for more troops from allied nations.
Spain has had troops in Afghanistan since 2002, and more than 22 Spanish soldiers have died there, including two in November 2008 when a suicide bomber rammed their convoy, and 17 in a helicopter crash in August 2005.