Two Spanish soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Sunday when an explosive device went off near where their convoy was passing. Three others were injured.
The soldiers were identified as Sergeant Manuel Argudin Perrino, 34, of Gijón, and Private Niyireth Pineda Marín, 31, of Colombia. Pineda was the mother of a young girl.
Prior to the deaths at the weekend, 13 Spanish soldiers had been killed in attacks in Afghanistan with 81 having died in accidents there.
Defense Minister Carme Chacón said she will travel to Afghanistan to visit the wounded and return with the remains of the two soldiers.
In a televised address, Chacón called the Afghan mission "the most difficult, complicated and risky" of all of Spain's international missions.
The two soldiers were assigned to the Soria No. 9 Infantry Regiment and were returning to the Ruy González de Clavijo base in Qala-i-Naw after conducting a reconnaissance mission. The convoy, made up of three Lince vehicles and four RG-31 armored personnel carriers, made a detour to inspect the villages of Aceska and Kalan-Khana, when the bomb went off. Chacón said that device was packed with "at least 20 kilos" of explosives.
On Friday, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced that Spain, following the United States' lead, would begin a gradual pull-out of Afghanistan next year, with all troops coming home by 2014 when NATO completes its mission.
The last killing of Spanish soldiers occurred on August 26 of 2010 when a Taliban killed two officers and their interpreter.