ON the day two members of the Guardia Civil and their Spanish interpreter were killed in Afghanistan (see page 10) the Commander-in-Chief of the Spanish Army, General Fulgencio Coll Bucher, was in Palma to meet the 50 Balearic-based soldiers who are being deployed to Afghanistan tonight.

The Commander-in-Chief held a personal briefing with the 50-strong unit at the Jaime II barracks after having been met by the Commander of the Balearics Mariano Estuan Solanilla at the Almudaina Palace in Palma yesterday morning.

According to an official statement from the Ministry of Defence, the Majorcan General wanted to hear at first hand about their preparations and training for their mission which will involve training members of the Afghan army as part of the International Afghanistan Security Assistance Force.

The objective is to train a force which will eventually be capable of operating under the orders of the Afghanistan government when the international forces eventually pull out.

The 50-strong unit will be seen off from Son San Joan air base tonight by the President of the Balearics, Francesc Antich and various other government ministers and authorities.

Yesterday, both Antich and the Mayor of Palma, Aina Calvo, expressed their condolences on behalf on the Balearics to the various heads of the Guardia Civil in the Balearics for the loss of two of their men.


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