The unexpected and rapid arrival of the Taliban in the Afghan capital, Kabul, accelerated yesterday the evacuation operations of diplomatic personnel. Also that of Spain. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured yesterday that the evacuation plan “is underway” and all “The logistics part, list of people to evacuate, means of transport and identification are prepared.” Last night, the Defense and Foreign Ministries announced that today two Airbus A400M military transport aircraft will fly to Dubai for the evacuation of the Spanish Embassy personnel as well as the Afghans who collaborated with the Spanish troops and their families.
The ships will leave the Zaragoza Air Base and will cover the first repatriation phase. The
The decision to send the two planes to Dubai comes after United Arab Emirates announce that it is willing to host as a logistics base the rescue missions of all countries with diplomatic delegations in Afghanistan.
The A400M has a capacity of 116 seats, one row on each side, plus a double row in the center of the fuselage. The two planes will have to evacuate, in principle, more than 400 people. These aircraft will be prepared in Dubai with the aim of forming an airlift with Kabul.
Foreign Ministry confirmed that it is coordinating with other partners of the European Union and NATO a response that ensures the protection of its workers in Afghanistan, but from the ministry that directs José Manuel Albares did not give more details of the plan for security reasons. The department reaffirmed itself in the words of Albares: “Leave no one behind.” This evacuation plan is being carried out individually by the Government of Spain. Coordination meetings are taking place with, for example, NATO, although of a marked strategic nature, especially in logistics. In the last of the meetings, on Friday, there was no talk of a joint evacuation plan with the other European countries and the transatlantic organization. Specifically, Foreign Affairs has been in contact with the ministries of Defense, Interior and Inclusion, Social Security and Migration to coordinate this evacuation.
After learning of the taking of Kabul by the Taliban, Albares published a message in which he communicated the acceleration of the evacuation of the Spanish, Afghans who have collaborated with Spain and their families, in coordination with the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles. “We will support the EU and its foreign service for an orderly departure of European and local staff,” assured the minister.
On Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the start of the repatriation of the staff of the Spanish embassy in Kabul. This order affects three diplomats: the acting ambassador, Gabriel Ferrán, the head of the second headquarters and a person assigned to secretarial work. These three people are joined by the embassy’s security team (17), in addition to about a dozen local personnel who collaborated at the diplomatic headquarters.
In Friday’s announcement, Albares also included the five Spaniards who remained in the country and the Afghans and their families who worked “side by side with us.” Among embassy workers, local personnel, security and translators and interpreters who collaborated with the Spanish Army, along with their families, the figure could rise to four hundred people. From the Foreign Ministry they have not explained to what degree of kinship they will arrive at the time of evacuating the families of the Afghans. The Foreign Minister was forced to rectify his intention to keep the embassy open on Friday, after the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños will show the Government’s intention that diplomatic personnel in Kabul they stayed in their jobs.
The interpreters themselves, in conversations with ABC, assured from Kabul that the capital will remain safe for a few days and they hope to be able to leave soon. However, the latest news they have from the Spanish Embassy is that “between August 23 and 27 we could go out. At the moment the talks with the embassy are stopped. We are waiting.
Criticisms of the PP
The Popular Party yesterday asked for the urgent appearance of Albares and the immediate repatriation of diplomatic personnel, and of the Afghans and their families who collaborated with the troops. “The Government must give explanations of why 48 hours ago the Minister Bolaños said that there was going to be an evacuation and now one is being prepared”, they assure from the PP. “It is the realization that there was no plan,” they complain.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism