Spain says no plans for more troops to Afghanistan
Spain has no plans to raise its troop levels in Afghanistan despite calls by President Barack Obama for a renewed commitment to fight the resurgent Taliban, Spain's foreign minister said.Updated: Feb 11, 2009 07:53 IST
Spain has no plans to raise its troop levels in Afghanistan despite calls by President Barack Obama for a renewed commitment to fight the resurgent Taliban, Spain's foreign minister said on Tuesday.
The comments by Miguel Angel Moratinos are sure to be unwelcome in Washington, which has made shifting military assets from Iraq to Afghanistan a priority, and has called on NATO allies in Europe to contribute to the effort.
Spain already has 800 troops stationed in Afghanistan, mostly in the relatively peaceful Western part of the country, part of a 55,000-strong NATO contingent.
"We don't plan for the moment to increase our military presence in Afghanistan," Moratinos told journalists at a breakfast meeting.
The top Spanish diplomat said his country had not yet received a formal request for more troops from Washington, and left open the possibility that it would study such a request when it came.
But he left little doubt that his country is hesitant about an increased military commitment.
"For the time being, our position is to say what our own analysis is," Moratinos said. "And that is that the answer is not to increase our military presence. The military presence has been increasing every year, and the situation has only gotten worse.
First Published: Feb 11, 2009 07:51 IST