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Zapatero refuses to name date on troop withdrawal from Afganistan

Thu 16th Sep 2010

The Spanish Prime Minister yesterday refused to put a date on the withdrawal of any of the country's troops from Afghanistan.

Spain has had troops stationed in Afganistan since 2002 and has suffered 92 deaths, the latest of which took place two weeks ago when two Civil Guards were killed by a chauffer with Taliban connections.

Speaking in parliament to announce the arrest of four people who are suspected to be connected to the incident, Zapatero defended the Spanish mission as well as revealed that the country has over 1,500 troops in "war situations."

"We will continue to do everything possible so that the day that our troops can leave Afghan territory arrives as soon as possible" said Zapatero, remaining committed to the ongoing NATO mission.

"We have to remain in Afghanistan, accepting the current responsibilities for as long as it is necessary and while the security of the country, the region, the world and of Spaniards is in danger. We will always work within the law and with the consensus of the international community" he emphasised.

Zapatero reported how Spain's contribution in Afghanistan had cost the country 1.900 billion euros to date, to which a further 220 million euros were dedicated to civil cooperation projects.

"Afghanistan is a scene of violence and conflict. It is a war-zone, dangerous for our troops and for civil personnel who work there" he said.

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