King "used" in flash visit to Afghanistan
King Juan Carlos on Tuesday returned from a surprise two-day visit to Spanish troops stationed in Afghanistan.
2 January 2008
MADRID - King Juan Carlos on Tuesday returned from a surprise two-day visit to Spanish troops stationed in Afghanistan.
"I have instructions from my family to congratulate you and thank you," the king told the contingent, which has sustained 86 losses since the mission began in 2002.
Flanked by Defence Minister José Antonio Alonso, the king also travelled to Kuwait, where he met with its leader, emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The visit coincided with the monarch's 70th birthday, and mirrors his 1998 visit to Spanish troops stationed in Bosnia when he turned 60.
Left-wing parties criticised the royal visit, accusing Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of "using" the king to validate "an occupation operation," in the words of Antonio Romero of the IULV-CA coalition.
[Copyright El Pais 2008]
Subject: Spanish news