Congress approves more troops for Afghanistan

Congress has authorised the sending of more troops, 432 in total, to Afghanistan in response to a request by the Minister of Defence, Carme Chacón.

There were 32 votes in favour of sending more troops and only one vote against, that of IU deputy Gaspar Llamazares.

A battalion of 450 troops is being sent to assist with security for the elections to be held in the country on August 2oth, 70 are for protecting the international airport in Kabul and the rest will assist with the training of the Afghan military.

The Minister warned that the situation for Spanish troops in Afghanistan is ‘not without risk’ as violence and insurgency is on the increase.

The Spanish troops, acting as a a third line of support behind the Aghan army and police, will operate in the area between Herat and Qala e Naw. They will also be supplied with 33 new ‘Lynx’ armoured vehicles.

The cost of sending the troops to Afghanistan has been put at €44 million and deployment of the battalion will begin in July.

Defence Minister Carme Chacón responded to questions from various political groupings by saying that ‘Spain is not in Afghanistan for Bush, for Irak or for Obama, but by the will of the Spanish people’.

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