MADRID — After 14 years of deployment, Spain has completed this week completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan where it still had 450 troops at the Forward Support Base of Herat, a calmer province in the northwest of the country.
Twenty Spanish military officials will remain at the headquarters of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Kabul.
The Spanish military presence in Herat currently consisted of the protection force operating at the base and the city's airport, the Air Force military officials in charge of running the airport, the Role 2E military hospital, a logistic unit and personnel at the general headquarters of the Training, Advise and Assist Command West.
The decision to complete Spanish withdrawal from the Herat base comes at a time when the US is reconsidering its continued presence after the end of this year. Concern is growing over the efficacy of the Afghan Army and police to control the situation.
The UK and Germany have both announced in the last few weeks their intention to extend their deployment of troops in Afghanistan into 2016, and other NATO members, such as Italy, are expected to follow suit.
Afghanistan could again face a war scenario with the Taliban and several other jihadist groups battling trying to gain terrain against governmental forces. In Sept. 28, the Taliban briefly seized the northern city of Kunduz, its main victory after the US military intervention in 2001.
In total, 29,861 Spanish troops have been deployed to Afghanistan since January 2002. It has been the longest military operation of Spain's nish modern armed forces, with a tragic result of 102 dead (62 of them in a aircraft crash in Turkey while they were coming back home in May 2003).