LONDON - The British Army might stay in Afghanistan for the next 40 years, the next head of the Britains armed forces has warned. In an interview with a British newspaper, General Sir David Richards, who becomes Chief of the General Staff on August 28, said: The Armys role will evolve, but the whole process might take as long as 30 to 40 years. He emphasised that British troop involvement, currently 9,000-strong, should only be needed for the medium term. I believe that the UK will be committed to Afghanistan in some manner development, governance, security sector reform for the next 30 to 40 years, he said. General Richards said: We need now to focus on the expansion of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police. Just as in Iraq, it is our route out militarily, but the Afghan people and our opponents need to know that this does not mean our abandoning the region. We made this mistake once. Our opponents are banking on us doing it again, and we must prove them wrong, he said, adding We can and are outfighting them. AFP adds: While British troops would only be required in the country in the medium term, there was absolutely no chance of Nato pulling out completely and Britain would have to play its role in nation-building, Richards said. Britain has a 9,100-strong force in Afghanistan, which has suffered 26 deaths since the start of July as the battle against the Taliban intensifies ahead of presidential elections on August 20. The latest casualties were three paratroopers killed on Friday after their vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb north of Lashkar Gah, raising to 195 the number of British dead since operations began in 2001. Meanwhile, Colombia will send 84 infantry soldiers to join the Nato-run International Security Assistance Force under Spanish command, officials here announced Friday. The soldiers will travel in two groups of 42, the first in 2010 and the second in 2011, said visiting Spanish Vice-President Maria Teresa Fernandez in a Bogota press conference. Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos said that the soldiers will provide security at Spanish bases, and said that Colombian participation with the Isaf could increase in the future. Spain currently has 780 troops in Afghanistan. Madrid has maintained a contingent in Afghanistan since 2002, part of what is now the 62,000-strong, 42-nation Nato-led International Security Assistance Force supporting the beleaguered Afghan government. Natos new Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted Friday that more troops were needed in Afghanistan if the alliance was to complete a successful handover of security to local forces.