Spanish soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Two Spanish soldiers killed in suicide attack in Afghanistan

Two Spanish soldiers were killed yesterday in a suicide attack carried out by Taliban insurgents. A convoy consisting of twelve lorries belonging to the Afghan army and six tanks carrying Spanish soldiers was attacked in Herat, a province in the west of Afghanistan.

The attack took place at 12.30 am local time when a van loaded with explosives collided with the last armoured vehicle in the convoy which was returning to its base in Herat. The explosion killed two Spanish soldiers and injured four others, one seriously. The Taliban which had assumed that the convoy consisted of American troops immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on its web page.

After the news of the attack yesterday the Spanish Defence Minister, Carmen Chacon, appeared in a press conference together with the Head of Defence, General José Julio Rodríguez, to give her condolences to the families of the deceased adding that everybody was aware that ‘Spanish soldiers were risking their lives for the well being and freedom of a far away country and also for our own security’.

Following the news of the attack yesterday Chacon confirmed the names of the dead as Rubén Alonso Ríos, born in Galicia in 1978 and Juan Andrés Suárez García, born in Asturias in 1967. Shortly after this she left for Afghanistan to help with the repatriation of the two soldiers killed in yesterday’s attack.

Both UN peace keeping forces, which include Spanish troops, and the anti-terrorist coalition led by the United States operate in the district of Shindand, which is the most conflictive in the Afghan province of Herat.

The first Spanish troops were sent to Afghanistan in 2002. Spain now has a total of 778 military personnel on duty in Afghanistan which are all involved with the UN peacekeeping mission which aims to help stabilize and rebuild the country.

With the news of these latest deaths yesterday the total number of Spanish soldiers killed while on service in Afghanistan now stands at 86.