Palma.—General Commander in the Balearics, Adolfo Orozco said that it will be the second time that soldiers from the Balearics have taken part in Spanish military operations in Afghanistan.

Orozco was speaking during a military parade honouring the day of the “Immaculate Conception” of the Virgin, the patron saint of the army which took place at the Jaime II barracks in Palma, formerly the old General Asensio military base.

Orozco said the regiment in the Balearics already has experience of taking part in foreign missions. He gave assurances that the troops are “perfectly capable” which is why other tours of duty continue to be assigned to them.

A different role “Whilst the previous mission to Afghanistan had been to form part of a foreign peace-keeping force, this time the Balearic soldiers will be training infantry of the Afghan army,” explained Orozco. He said that the new mission will last for six months from April 2012 and will be the fourth undertaken by the Balearic regiment, following previous tours in Bosnia, Kosovo and last year in Afghanistan.

Orozco said that everything will be done to ensure the soldiers complete their mission next year as quickly as possible and every effort would be taken in the meantime to care for their families.

Yesterday's celebrations were attended by other senior military personnel and regional government officials including Balearic President, José Ramón Bauzá, the Mayor of Palma, Mateo Isern, and Central Government's Delegate in the Balearics, Ramón Socías.

Chief of the Palma 47 Light Infantry, Colonel Pedro Martinez said that he had absolutely no doubt that because his soldiers were so well prepared for action, he could give assurances that their mission was going to be a success.

President Bauzá echoed Martinez by saying that he wished the Balearic soldiers the very best for their tour of duty and that it was a matter of “pride” for the people of the Balearic Islands that the Palma 47 regiment was going to be on active service in Afghanistan.