Torrejon, 12 August 2022 (TDI): Spanish Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Albares, and the Migrations Secretary of State, Isabel Castro; received 294 Afghan collaborators on 11 August.

The plane of the collaborators departed from Islamabad. Albares stated that the flight was evidence of the Spanish commitment to not leave anyone behind. Furthermore, with nearly 300 collaborators, Spain has safely evacuated 3,900 Afghan collaborators over the last year.

The last plane that Spain was able to evacuate was on 21 July. The flight was under the framework of Operation Antigona III and brought 63 Afghans. Albares then reaffirmed that the flight was possible thanks to the collaboration from the Ministries of Defence, and of Home Affairs.

Albares then expressed gratitude for the aid from the Ministry of Inclusion, Security, and Migration, of Health, and of Presidency. The Minister also declared that Spain was one of the last countries to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

Albares also declared that Spain continues to work to ensure that no one is left behind; as mentioned before. The Minister then mentioned that this shows that Spain is a reliable partner that upholds its commitments.

Since the Taliban takeover, Spain has carried out three operations which are Antigona I, II, and III. According to the Ministry, the authorities keep promoting the transfer to Spain of the collaborators; and other people.

The efforts to transfer include people that have been able to reach neighboring countries by their own means. The number of refugees is currently 942, who obtained international protection.

INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION 

Out of the 942 people, 314 are women, 277 men, and 345 children; thanks to the Spanish Embassies in Islamabad, Teheran, Abu Dhabi, Ankara, New Delhi, Nur-Sultan, and Moscow.

The Ministry stated that the diplomatic delegations actively collaborate in the evacuation and transfer work of the people. According to the Ministry, the Embassies continue to process applications from other Afghan citizens.

Spain also deployed a provisional transit operation, to attend to and accompany the families following their arrival. The police then documented the Afghan collaborators and delivered basic socio-demographic information.

The collaborators also talked with UNHCR and Asylum and Refugee Office professionals to receive information on the rights granted under international protection. Furthermore, some of the refugees had to take random health checks; and others expressed the need to join the reception system.

Those that did were transferred to accommodations that evening. Isabel Castro indicated that the reception system was available again to facilitate their autonomy. According to Castro, the attention that they receive comes in two phases; the first is the reception system and the second.

The reception system provides for their residency under the places from the system; the second phase prepares them for their autonomy and provides basic support. The Ministry also mentioned that Spain is actively contributing to alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Spain has contributed a total of 33.8 million euros between 2021 and 2022; and has pledged 4 million for 2023.

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