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Spain commits more troops to Afghanistan in overture to Obama

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MADRID – The Spanish government is not wasting time when it comes to mending relations with the United States. It is expected to announce a boost of its troop levels in Afghanistan to more than 1,000 from its current 778 to reinforce NATO’s presence there ahead of presidential elections in August.

The increase would be mostly symbolic, but it illustrates the length to which the socialist government of President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is going to rekindle relations that fell to a deep low under the previous US administration, when former President George W. Bush refused to meet Mr. Zapatero after he withdrew Spanish forces from Iraq in 2004 because the invasion lacked a UN mandate.

Spain is hoping the turnaround will resonate in common policies from climate change to relations with Latin America and Muslim countries.

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