Rajoy announces that the Spanish troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014
The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, yesterday asked the Spanish troops in Afghanistan to remain vigilant and maintain concentration until the end of the mission, in 2014, and announced in passing that Spain is ready to follow in Herat in 2015 , in front of the airport and the hospital.
The Prime Minister, accompanied by Defence Minister Peter Morenés, visited yesterday for the first time since taking office, a year ago, the mission in Afghanistan, during the holidays.
During the visit, where he remained about ten hours on Afghan soil, met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and ran the bases of Herat and Qala i Naw, that host the 1,369 Spanish soldiers.
In both facilities agreed to commend the work of the military, which "has been a major leap in the province" of Badghis, Spanish area of responsibility, "the hardest, where there is more risk and causes more wear, especially in the battle stations "of Ludina and Moqur.
Stressed advisory work and the work of the provincial reconstruction team with projects to improve economic and social conditions of the area.
"Your work and sacrifice have a very clear sense: mean freedom, dignity, respect for human rights and better living conditions for Afghans," Rajoy said in his address to the troops in Qala i Naw. He also expressed confidence that kept the mood in the home stretch of the mission and "a happy homecoming" with "the accomplishment."
"We are faced with a difficult task, which is to build the conditions for completing the transition by the end of 2014 to carry out the withdrawal," he said later in Herat. In this sense, and so I went to Karzai, Spain will meet its commitments to 2014 and is willing to maintain its presence in Herat, in the management of the airport, from 2015.
The Spanish contribution from 2015, which would fit within the mission of NATO, would manage the airport and the Role 2 hospital, and perform tasks that currently the Spanish military.
Yesterday's visit coincides with the beginning of the withdrawal of troops, which began in November with a 10% quota, and will continue with the removal of 40% over 2013 and the remaining 50% in 2014.
However, as reiterated in his recent remarks Morenés Spain could accelerate the withdrawal and "if there is something to turn around the situation" in the country "radically" Spain could be in 2013 out of Badghis.
Moreover, Rajoy told the troops that things will be better in Spain in 2013 and that 2014 will be the year of economic growth and job creation.
Rajoy acknowledged that Spain is "a difficult time" and added that "if we all worked hard and our obligations cumpliéramos no matter what others do, things would be better." So, he gave the example of the military and closed the ceremony with a toast to the King, by the military and by Spain.