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Russia set to allow Spanish military transit to Afghanistan

RIA Novosti

20/11/2008 16:16 MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree allowing logistics supplies for Spanish troops in Afghanistan to pass through Russian territory.

A document posted on the Kremlin's website said that the decree concerned an agreement "between Russia and Spain on the transit of military supplies and personnel through Russian territory to support the Spanish military contingent as part of a security and development mission in Afghanistan,"

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has about 53,000 troops in Afghanistan under a UN mandate to help give security support to the Afghan government and stop the flow of drugs from the country.

However, despite international efforts, the radical Islamic movement the Taliban, ousted from power after a U.S.-led military operation in 2001, has been stepping up their activities in recent months.

As of October 2008, Spain had contributed 780 personnel to the ISAF. The collective Spanish military contribution to ISAF is known as ASPFOR XVII.

Spanish forces are divided between the Herat Province, where they form a quick-reaction force, a group of instructors for Afghan National Army training, and a Combat Search & Rescue unit, and the Badghis Province, where they lead a provincial reconstruction team.

Despite the recent deterioration of relations with NATO, Russia continues to support the military alliance's operations in Afghanistan, and shares NATO's concerns over the worsening military and political situation in the country.

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