Spain plans to start pulling out its troops from Afghanistan by 2012, Prim Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Friday.
Zapatero, in Brussels for an EU summit, was quoted by local media as saying that Spain would coordinate with the Afghan authorities and ISAF to pull out 10 percent of its forces by end of the first quarter next year.
He said his government planned withdrawal of 40 percent of Spanish forces by end of first quarter of 2013 and full pull out by 2014.
Zapatero underscored that Spain was committed to security and stability of Afghanistan.
He said it was important to abide by the timetable set during last November NATO’s summit in Lisbon, Portugal, concerning the withdrawal of the NATO-led international forces from Afghanistan.
Spain has 1,566 forces working with the NATO-led ISAF in Afghanistan. The Spanish troops are training Afghan army personnel to maintain peace, security and stability.
Spain spent 464 million euros on its Afghanistan mission last year, while expenditures totalled around 2.4 billion euros since deployment in 2002.