Francisco Cardona, father of one of the deceased in the Yak-42, places a rose on the monolith to the fallen accompanied by the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles.Marshal / EFE

The Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, has asked this Monday “forgiveness” to the relatives of the Spanish soldiers killed in Afghanistan who felt “abandoned” by the authorities when the loss of their loved ones occurred. “The love is and [también] the respect and pride of being their compatriots ”, he stressed.

Robles has pronounced these words in the tribute paid at the Army War School to the 102 deceased in the Spanish mission in Afghanistan: 96 soldiers, two civil guards, two policemen and two interpreters.

Although the minister has not referred to any specific case, among the attendees were relatives of the 62 who died in the Yak-42 accident in May 2003, whose bodies were hastily buried by order of the Government of José María Aznar . This forced them to be exhumed and buried again in a long and painful process that ended with the PP’s pardon for the two military forensics convicted of falsifying 30 identifications.

On May 13, the last 26 Spanish soldiers returned from Afghanistan, thus ending a mission that lasted 19 years, three months and 20 days. Robles then decided to postpone the tribute, which was finally held this Monday, with the presence of family members, although limited due to restrictions due to the pandemic. On behalf of all of them, Aránzazu Magro, widow of Captain Javier González, who died in the accident of a Cougar helicopter in 2005, has spoken, who has assured, paraphrased the poem to the fallen, that his relatives “did not want to live otherwise” more that as military that they were.

The most emotional moment of the act took place when the relatives have placed a rose at the foot of a monolith while the names of the deceased were read. Francisco Cardona, father of one of the Yakovlev victims, who once fought to clarify the circumstances surrounding the death of his son, has suffered a drop in blood pressure and has had to approach in a wheelchair pushed by the Minister of Defending. The tribute was attended by the Ambassador of Afghanistan in Spain, Humayoor Hasaw.

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