Sunday, December 5

The pateras protocol, the first filter for the Afghans of Torrejón

The two flights from Afghanistan that have landed so far at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base (Madrid) are ‘dirty flights’. Neither in Kabul nor in Dubai was any type of Covid test done, so this is the first procedure that the Afghan collaborators and the Spaniards who are already in our country have had to go through: 53 people on the plane that landed last morning (48 of them Afghans) and another thirty who they did on a commercial plane from Rome. The next evacuees – when they manage to leave, which is not yet known – will have to follow the same protocol.

The second procedure is already purely police. Some bring passports and

others do not, according to the sources consulted; some are documented and others raise doubts, despite previous intelligence work on the ground. Everything has been too fastIt is an exceptional situation ”, warn police sources. “You have to verify the prints first, that they are not forgeries, for example. You cannot lose sight of where they come from, the level of corruption on the one hand and, on the other, the desperation and the rush ”. For these checks, a group of specialists in fingerprint identification from the General Scientific Police Station works on the ground at the Madrid military base.

The procedure is identical to that carried out when a boat or boat arrives, although at the moment with fewer candidates if we think about situations like the one that the Canary Islands experienced at the end of last year at the Arguineguín dock. There they came to crowd up to two thousand people; the officers had to work tirelessly and it was not possible to identify all of them for many days.

As reported by ABC, not only have collaborators from the Spanish Army or the Embassy arrived, but mainly workers from the European Union embarked on the two flights, so most of them do not even intend to stay in Spain.

After the strike, a second group of police officers – two control posts that function in coordination have been established – belonging to the General Commissariat for Immigration and Borders, who are in charge of providing each one with an extraordinary residence permit of fifteen days. And then they are automatically offered to join international protection, the old figure of asylum.

This is a fundamental difference with respect to the protocol that is applied with the arrival of boats and cayucos. Whoever enters Spain through this means does so illegally and although some may meet the requirements to benefit from that international protection, they are not automatically included in the list, nor is that offer direct.

Appointment at the police station

In the case of Afghan collaborators from Spain or the EU (legally evacuated), this offer is automatic, as has been said. Even so only twelve people expressed their interest in staying in our country, according to government sources. All of them will be summoned in Madrid police stations as soon as possible to formalize their status as applicants, although then the Asylum and Refugee Office must study case by case and decide whether or not the conditions are met.

But it is not the only situation. In addition to this figure and temporary residences on an exceptional basis there will be family reunions. The first, which have been granted to all, are designed for those Afghans who intend to leave for another country and who will travel to their destinations – Denmark, Germany and Latvia, among others – as soon as possible. None have the intention of accessing the Spanish protection system.

According to official sources, Spain currently has 3,100 places of international protection that could be dedicated to this emergency, although there is still a long waiting list to access some of them.

Family reunification is another of the figures that the law provides and that will also apply. In this case, it is intended for families who have traveled with collaborators from one of the member states and whose main figure has requested asylum. These are two complementary measures, but with different procedures and deadlines.

According to the sources consulted by ABC, no other additional security control measures are being carried out beyond the stamping and documentary confirmation. All those who are already here and those who appear on the lists managed by the Defense and Foreign ministries have in theory passed a previous screening by the Intelligence services, although given the haste and chaos of recent days the checks may not have been as exhaustive as they would have been with more time.

“Zero risk does not exist”

When asked if among the rescued a convert may have infiltrated, police sources point out that “Zero risk does not exist” and they remember that the lists are secret and changing. The different ministries do not stop receiving calls in which they claim to add more Afghans at risk who have collaborated with Spain in one way or another, for example with the media.

Some of those collaborators did it years ago and their trajectory has not been followed. “It does not seem that someone who was against the Taliban has now decided to join them, but it is true that some are suffering personal threats or their family and may find themselves in a very compromised situation,” intelligence sources explain. They add the factor of whole families, even more difficult to control. “The work has been done as far as possible”, they conclude.

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