Expatica news

Spain to double troops in Afghanistan

1 July 2004

MADRID — Spain is to double the number of troops in Afghanistan and send 110 military police to Haiti, Defence Minister Jose Bono said Thursday.

It will increase the peacekeeping force from 470 to 1,040 troops during the Afghan election period.

Bono said Spain would send an infantry battalion, a field hospital and four helicopters at a cost of EUR 54,000. 

The elections in Afghanistan were planned for June but have been postponed until September because of security issues.

Government sources said the government would “complete the promise it made with its citizens”.

Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will explain the decision to parliament next week, sources added.

Later, parliament needs to ratify the government’s decision on sending troops abroad.

The government was responding to the criticism levelled by opposition leader, Mariano Rajoy, head of the conservative Popular Party.

Rajoy demanded that Zapatero explained his policies on sending the troops abroad in parliament.

The PP leader wanted to see Zapatero complete his promise to discuss with the matter in  parliament before sending any more troops into conflict abroad.

Zapatero made this promise after pulling-out the 1,300-strong contingent from Iraq in April.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news