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'Mission accomplished': Spanish troops home from Afghanistan
16 May 2021 @ 17:24

THE last of Spain's service personnel deployed in Afghanistan have now arrived home, and King Felipe VI met them as they disembarked from their military craft at the air base in Torrejón de Ardoz (Greater Madrid region).

Defence minister Margarita Robles joined the monarch as the 24 men and women – the final soldiers left out of the more than 27,100 who have served in the west Asian country since late 2001 – stepped onto the runway.

HRH Felipe's first words, addressing the troops through their operations commander General Francisco Braco, were: “Sir – mission accomplished.”

The King and defence minister are planning a commemorative act next month for the 102 Spaniards who lost their lives in combat during the 19-year mission in Afghanistan, but they paid tribute to them as their colleagues touched base.

Margarita Robles said Spain 'owes a debt of gratitude' to the 27,100 or so who served in what has so far been the longest overseas mission the country has taken part in, and which has now come to a close with all Spanish soldiers now having returned from Afghanistan.

Sra Robles called them 'essential lead players in recent history' and said she would do whatever it took to ensure their efforts for the 'peace and safety of Spain' were fully recognised.

King Felipe himself – who is officially the highest-ranking military officer in the country, a rôle automatically held by the reigning monarch – had visited the Spanish troops in Afghanistan in person back in June 2008, when he was still Prince Felipe of Asturias and his father, King Juan Carlos I, had not yet abdicated.



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