Colombia’s Defense Minister, Gabriel Silva, said Wednesday that the country is finalizing the details to send a contingent of about fifty soldiers to Afghanistan before August, when President Alvaro Uribe’s term as president ends.
“We already have the approval of [foreign secretary Jaime Bermudez] to settle the details so that the unit will be available to work under the command of NATO, together with the Spanish military, before this government finishes its term,” Silva said to a group of journalists.
Last year, the Spanish government agreed to be the “sponsor” of Colombian troops that will travel to Afghanistan under the command of NATO.
It is anticipated that 50 special forces troops will join the U.S.-led military action against the Taliban, including some with anti-narcotics and anti-explosive training. According to an agreement between the Afghan and Colombian governments, the troops will have diplomatic immunity while fighting in the country.
“It is going to be a great experience for them and for Colombia. We are proud of these heroes,” Silva said, and added that the soldiers had decided to go “voluntarily” to Afghanistan.