MADRID – Spain will be in charge of handling security at Kabul International Airport for a period of seven months starting Oct. 1, following a rotation plan established by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
A contingent made up of 66 soldiers and four police will arrive in the Afghan capital on Sept. 14, military officials told Efe.
More than 1,300 Spanish troops are already serving with ISAF in Afghanistan, including 450 sent to bolster security for the Aug. 20 general elections.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said last month in an interview with The New York Times that those additional troops could remain in the Asian nation after the elections.
On June 15, 2006, nations contributing troops to ISAF agreed to substitute each other periodically in certain areas, as in the case of security management at the Kabul airport.
Spanish soldiers will take over that responsibility at a time when air traffic in Afghanistan has increased due to the elections and the growing incidence of violence.
Leading this contingent will be Col. Ruben Garcia Servet, currently director of the Spanish air force academy.
Nearly 90 Spanish military personnel have been killed in Afghanistan since 2002. EFE