"Troops to leave Afghanistan this year,” announces La Vanguardia. On 6 January, defence minister Carme Chacón said she hopes “to begin the process of handing over power to the Afghan government soon”. 1,500 Spanish soldiers have been deployed since 2001 as part of NATO’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The announcement was made during the Pascua Militar (“Military Easter”) celebrations presided over by King Juan Carlos at the Royal Palace in Madrid. The Barcelona-based paper notes that this is the first time this traditional annual event has been held during “a state of emergency”, which has been in effect since the air traffic controllers’ strike in December.