Thursday, September 22, 2005

Spain Announces Troops Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced that all the 500 Spanish troops on humanitarian mission in Afghanistan will be brought home by Oct. 12. Addressing the parliament, Rodriguez Zapatero said the withdrawal began on Sept. 21 because the troops have accomplished their mission including protecting the Sept. 18 parliamentary elections from disruption in the Asian country. Mourning the death of 17 Spanish soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in August in Afghanistan, Rodriguez Zapatero said they sacrificed their lives for the UN mission. He also said the Spanish troops have accomplished 40 UN peacekeeping missions, with a total of 2,678 Spanish peacekeepers now in Afghanistan, the Balkans and Haitia. Spain joined the UN peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan in May 2002