A first group of Afghans and their families who collaborated with Spain in Afghanistan and have been evacuated through Pakistan arrived last night at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base in Madrid aboard a Spanish Air Force plane. They are 84 people, including 35 children, and will be joined today by a further 163 who will arrive on another plane.
The evacuees were received at the foot of the plane by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, Defence, Margarita Robles, and Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá.
On 27 August, the Spanish government interrupted the evacuation of the Afghans who, over the last twenty years, have collaborated with the Spanish Armed Forces, Embassy and Cooperation, after having taken 2,206 people out of Afghanistan, but from that very moment, it began to take steps to bring those who had not been able to reach Kabul airport to Spain.
One of the options was to make it easier for the Afghan collaborators and their families to reach Pakistan by land, and this was the objective of the trip made on 10 September to Islamabad by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, in search of support from the Pakistani authorities.
The Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, announced last week that more evacuees were expected to arrive “in the coming days”, but avoided going into details out of “prudence” and “discretion”, as the operation had not yet been completed.
The nearly 250 Afghans arriving in Spain between yesterday and today were able to cross the border into Pakistan and were attended to by the Spanish Embassy, which took care of verifying their identities and carrying out all the necessary documentation for their transfer.
As was the case with those evacuated in August, the Afghans arriving in this second phase will be temporarily received at the Torrejón base, where the entire process of processing their reception and asylum will be carried out, before being transferred to state-run centres throughout Spain.