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 Deployments and operations

NATO Operation "Resolute Support" - Afghanistan

Training and assistance mission in Afghanistan
OTAN Operación

Resolute Support Mission or Operation Resolute Support is a NATO-led train, advise and assist mission consisting of over 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, which began on January 1, 2015. It is a follow-on mission to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) which was completed on December 28, 2014

From the beginning, Spain was involved, together with its allies, in the pacification and reconstruction of Afghanistan. During this mission, our Army Forces have conducted 28.000 patrols, have travelled three million kilometres and have conducted more than 1.400 missions detonating and disarming unexploded devices.

Initially, Spain participated in Operation Enduring Freedom contributing medical support, transport planes, ships and helicopters. However, the major contribution of our country was within the ISAF framework (International Security Assistance Force). The first 350 soldiers were sent to Kabul, and three years later Spain assumed control of the Herat base, where a field hospital Role 2E was set up, and took charge of the provincial reconstruction team in Qala-i-Naw.

On 31st December 2014, the ISAF mission was ended and the NATO Resolute Support Mission formally started. It aims to assist, train and advise Afghan institutions. A task that involves roughly 13.000 soldiers from 42 countries.

In 2018, the Spanish forces that support Headquarters in Kabul tasks of the Defence Staff also dealt with advice, training and assistance for the Afghan national logistical bodies, the Afghan Special Operations Command and the Special Operations Battalion (Kandak), and provided protection and security to the deployed staff.


The Resolute Support Mission (RSM) replaced from 1st January 2015 the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in support of the Afghan Government.

This new mission is focused on training and advising Afghan forces in order to provide them with sufficient skills, which would enable them to take responsibility of their own security.

The “Resolute Support” detailed operational plan was approved by NATO at the end of June 2014.

ISAF was created by the Bonn Agreement on 22nd December 2001. The participation of Spanish troops was approved by the Council of Ministers on 27th December 2001. The contribution to Resolute Support was authorised by the Spanish Congress of Deputies on 18th December 2014.


A day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the North Atlantic Council invoked, for the first time in history, Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. This Article requires the response of all members against an attack committed against one of them. This was the allied support given to Operation Enduring Freedom.

Almost unanimously, the United Nations, through the Resolution 1378/2001, called for the international community to give emergency assistance to the Afghan population.

9/11 was the trigger for the intervention of international forces in Afghanistan. This was a country where there was no other government structure than tribal leaders, where there were no organised security forces, just militias, and where the Taliban maintained their power over an increasingly ignored and suppressed population.

International forces have worked hard to bring about peace and stability in the area. Their mission has been adapted throughout the years. Initially, their mission was to ensure security in the capital, Kabul, but lately, they expanded their presence along the whole territory to bring an end to the rebellion, to train the Afghan Security Forces and to support the reconstruction of the provincial infrastructures.



  • May 18th. The new Spanish contingent commader takes over. (Col. José Ignacio García del Olmo).


  • November 4th. The new Spanish contingent commader takes over. (Col. Emilio José Cortés Narváez).
  • May 6th.  The new Spanish contingent commader takes over. (Col. Diego M. Martínez Cañabate).  


  • November 23. Contingent handover. Contingent Head Colonel Luis Ángel del Río Solá.
  • May 28. The Special Operations Joint Command (MCOE, in Spanish), based in Retamares, (Madrid), undertakes command of the operational deployment within the framework of the NATO operation “Resolute Support” in Afghanistan.


  • December 28. The participation is extended till 31st December 2018, with a total of 95 forces.


  • Operation RSM is extended till December 2020.


  • December 11: terrorist attack strikes the Spanish Embassy in Kabul, in which two Spanish Policemen belonging to the security personnel of the Embassy were killed.
  • October 27: the presence of the Spanish contingent at the Forward Support Base of Herat ends.
  • October 25: the last flag is awarded in Herat.
  • January 1: Operation Resolute Support begins.


  • December 31: the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) ends.


  • September 25: Transfer of Ruy González de Clavijo Base.
  • February 21: Bernardo de Gálvez II Base in Ludina and Rickets Base in Moqur are transfered


  • November 11: Spanish tropos withdrawal starts.
  • November 4: Spain transfers the responsibility of the Badghis´ security.
  • January 31: Spain compromises security to the Afghan forces in Qala-i-Naw.
  • January 24: The NATO Rapid Deployable Headquarters based in Bétera (Valencia) leads the ISAF Joint Command.


  • July 18: NATO starts handing over security responsibilities to the Afghan forces


  • July 13: opening of Ruy Gónzalez de Clavijo Base in Qala-i-Naw.


  • October 1: Spain takes control and management of Kabul airport.
  • April 3: the ISAF contingent is extended. It includes, among its objectives, the training of the Afghan Army and Police Forces.


  • July 28: agreement between Spain and the Afghan government for financing and training a company from the Afghan Army and for building a confinement to barracks in Qala-i-Naw.


  • March 6: the ISAF and the new Afghan security forces initiate their first major joint operation against rebellion in the south of the country.  


  • October 5: NATO expansion process is completed all over Afghanistan territory.


  • August 19: Spanish troops take control of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) of Qala-i-Naw.
  • May 18: Spain takes command of Herat Base.
  • April 1: the Spanish Field Hospital Role 2E is opened out.


  • August 11: NATO takes command of ISAF.


  • January 24: the first Spanish tropos arrive in Kabul (350).


  • December 27: Council of Ministers allows Spanish troops to participate in ISAF.
  • December 22: Bonn Agreement: Afghan Interim Authority is established.
  • September 11: terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon

Mission news

  • The contingent deployed in Afghanistan presents a mural inspired on the painting “Rocroi, el último Tercio”

    The contingent deployed in Afghanistan presents a mural inspired on the painting “Rocroi, el último Tercio”

    The contingent deployed in Afghanistan presents a mural inspired on the painting “Rocroi, el último Tercio”


    In Afghanistan

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  • Detalle de una de las pruebas del concurso

    La Fuerza de Operaciones Especiales III participa en un concurso internacional de personal sanitario en Afganistán

    La Fuerza de Operaciones Especiales III participa en un concurso internacional de personal sanitario en Afganistán


    En Afganistán

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