Spanish troops in Afghanistan begin withdrawal



Madrid: The Spanish mission in Afghanistan began its withdrawal from Qala-i-Naw to its main base in Herat with the moving of equipment, vehicles and personnel.

"Bringing forward the date originally planned, the Spanish contingent in Afghanistan, Aspfor XXXII, has begun moving materiel to the base maintained by Spain in Herat, in order to be repatriated," Spain's Defense General Staff said Friday.

Following the recent closure of combat bases in Ludina and Moqur, a total of 45 members of the military, between officers and troops, are ready to return to Spain next Tuesday.

Personnel from other units, who have already been deactivated, are also in Herat waiting to take a flight back to Spain.

With the withdrawal from Qala-i-Naw, originally planned for next fall, Spain will be gone from Badghis province and its presence in Afghanistan will be limited to Herat, from where the final withdrawal will take place, scheduled for 2014.

Spain's military has been part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan for more than a decade and currently has some 1,400 people serving with the ISAF.

A total of 100 Spanish military personnel - some of Latin American origin - have been killed since the mission in Afghanistan started, most of them in air accidents.

IANS