By Claire Gordon • 10 October 2021 • 11:04
Spain has begun another operation in Afghanistan to evacuate around 200 people away from the Taliban claimed country. The Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, has referenced this and previous Spanish refugee rescue missions in recent days, confirming the original government intention of “leaving no one behind.” The previous mission, which finished on August 27, brought around 2000 refugees into Spain. The people being collected on these new flights are Spanish army collaborators and their families, who have been working on operations with Spain since 2002. The operations have been concentrated around Herat and Badghis provinces.
These operations will span several days and airports in neighbouring countries could also be used to create safe passage. The first mission of this sort utilised three A400 aircraft in 17 rotations from Kabul airport, taking people over to military installations in Dubai as a stopover. These included 1600 direct connections to the Spanish military, and 400 relationships to wider UN, NATO, and EU programs. They were ultimately received at a temporary reception centre in Spain, located at Torrejon air base, after Spanish military planes and Air Europa ships brought them over.
The Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Albares, travelled to Pakistan and Qatar in September, as these countries have the best relations with the current Taliban regime. The trip was to try and ensure safe passage for future refugees through these territories when the time came. The Spanish government has been in regular contact with the collaborators who are still stuck in the besieged country. They have enquired about the situation where they are and what they think would be the best course of action to remove them safely. These recent operations have no more information given about them, as to protect the security of everyone involved, and to not compromise the current action in the Afghan country.
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