Spain will stay in Afghanistan `as long as necessary`

Spanish PM is concerned about troops` security conditions in Afghanistan.

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2010, 09:49 AM IST

Madrid: Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said the country`s troops will remain in Afghanistan "as long as necessary".

"We must remain in Afghanistan, assuming the current responsibilities, as long as necessary, as long as the security of the country and the region, global security and the security of Spaniards is in danger," Zapatero said in the Parliament on Wednesday.

"We will continue doing everything possible, so that the day arrives quickly on which our troops can leave Afghan territory with the full satisfaction of a duty fulfilled," he said.

The Prime Minister added that the cost of Spain`s participation in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan since 2002 came up to more than EUR 1.9 billion (USD 2.47 billion).

Zapatero said the main concern of his government was the protection and improvement of the security conditions for Spanish troops deployed in Afghanistan.

He acknowledged the great human and financial effort of the mission, but said he was convinced that those "sacrifices" are contributing toward a more secure world.

In the parliamentary session, several opposition leaders demanded that Zapatero provide a schedule for the withdrawal of the country`s troops from the war zone.

IANS