Spain evacuates 160 more Afghans in repatriation mission as it aims to rescue ‘all former collaborators at risk’



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Madrid has evacuated a further 160 Afghans that were left behind after August’s hasty evacuations from Kabul following the Taliban’s takeover. Spain’s Defense Ministry said the evacuation took place via Pakistan.

On Tuesday, the ministry announced that the second repatriation plane arriving from third countries had landed in Torrejón Air Base near the Spanish capital from Islamabad after 83 Afghan allies had arrived the day prior.

The group of 160 Afghan nationals, comprised of 28 families and more than 50 children, were greeted by an array of Spanish officials at the runway, including Minister of Foreign Affairs José Albares and Minister of Defense Margarita Robles.

#BuenasNoches Terminamos el #DFN21 con una buena noticia: 160 evacuados afganos procedentes de Pakistán han aterrizado en Torrejón, asistidos por el @EjercitoAire. Es el ejemplo del #ServicioyCompromiso de las #FuerzasArmadas, "de la España generosa, solidaria y que construye". pic.twitter.com/TvRSSNVkpr

— Ministerio Defensa (@Defensagob) October 12, 2021

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said earlier on Tuesday that Spain is “determined to evacuate all our former Afghan collaborators at risk” and that its immediate priorities are “to advance evacuation efforts, guarantee humanitarian assistance and respect for the human rights of all Afghans… especially of women and girls,” while speaking at the G20 summit on Afghanistan.

Sanchez also promised to contribute €20 million ($23mn) through the United Nations with the aim of to contribute to providing basic services to the entire Afghan population.

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The evacuations come after Albares visited Pakistan and Qatar last month to ask for their assistance in recovering more Afghan workers who had been left behind.

Since the start of the evacuation missions in August, Madrid has repatriated more than 2,400 people, according to a statement from Spain’s Defense Ministry.

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