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ASPFOR XXXVII - 'Resolute Support'

The Spanish contingent in Afghanistan ASPFOR XXXVII assumed command of the Herat base on 16 March. It consists of members of the 16th Brigade “Canarias” – more specifically, the 9th Light Infantry Regiment “Soria”, which has its headquarters in Fuerteventura.

The contingent’s 218 soldiers have joined the personnel of the Role 2 hospital (50 people), the logistic unit (40) and the military airport control unit (50, from the Air Force), as well as the advisors at Herat HQ (10) and the personnel assigned to NATO HQ in Kabul. The total figure does not exceed 485 soldiers, as approved last december by the Spanish parliament for the NATO mission which substituted ISAF. The contingent is under the command of Lieutenant General Juan Ángel Bote Paz.

In addition, the support unit for Herat airport is made up of 11 soldiers; 15 more are stationed at the Regional HQ. For its part, the 41-member logistic unit has joined the National Support Element in Herat, which consists of 67 people. Finally, there is a military police team with 7 members and a joint operations element with 8.

The main task assigned to Spain within the Resolute Support mission is to provide effective security to the Herat base, HQ of NATO command in the region. That includes controlling access, securing the perimeter and organising patrols in the environs of the base.

The 218 Spanish soldiers which make up the Force Protection Task Force are organised into two companies, a support section and a command and control element. They are equipped with the usual individual and collective weapons of infantry units, explosive detection and deactivation capabilities, a stabilisation cell staffed by medics and paramedics and air force personnel to control aerial support (helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles or planes). They also have Lynx and RG31 mine-resistant armoured vehicles