They had originally been scheduled to leave in July. Thailand – which has more troops on the ground than Australia – yesterday also threatened to withdraw its forces following an announcement by Honduras that its 368 troops were also pulling out.
As domestic pressures continue to mount on the occupying forces, Thailand said yesterday it would withdraw its 451 medical and engineering troops if they were attacked.
The second defection in 24 hours came yesterday when Honduran President Ricardo Maduro said he would withdraw his nation’s 368 troops “as soon as possible”.
Other coalition members, including Australia, Japan, South Korea, Italy and Poland, responded to the Spanish and Honduran defections by vowing to stay in Iraq.
The Honduran troops are attached to the Spanish regiment in Iraq, along with 374 Salvadoran and 302 Dominicans who are due to leave in July. Nicaragua’s 115 troops left in February.