Rajoy pledges to keep troops in Afghanistan after NATO mission ends

In Christmas address, Prime minister tells troops on overseas missions that they are boosting Spain’s international prestige

Madrid -

In his Christmas message to Spanish troops serving abroad on humanitarian missions, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday reminded members of the armed forces that their main objective was to “make the world a safer place.”

“Spain obtains more prestige each time you make a sacrifice,” the prime minister said in a televised video conference call to troops serving in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bosnia, Djibouti, Uganda, Antarctica and the Indian Ocean.

On Saturday, Rajoy made a quick visit to meet with Spanish troops in Afghanistan. He also met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whom he told that a contingent of troops will remain in the country after 2014, when the NATO multinational mission is due to withdraw its forces.

There are currently some 1,400 Spanish soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

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