The A400M aircraft of the Armed Forces with the second group of people evacuated from Afghanistan has landed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from where it will continue its journey to the Torrejón Air Base in Madrid to transport a new contingent of Afghan collaborators who worked hand in hand with Spanish civil servants and citizens in the Afghan country.
Spain has a logistical node in Dubai that is serving as a connection between Afghanistan and Spanish territory as part of the evacuation operation that the Government has arranged to repatriate the nationals who were still in the Asian country and to receive those Afghans who have worked all this time collaborating with the Spanish State on the ground.
The flight left Kabul airport at 06:30 in the morning and made the technical stopover in Dubai, with 110 people on board (it should be remembered that the A400M aircraft has a capacity of 140 people). From the Dubai emirate, it will continue its journey to the Torrejón Air Base in Madrid, where a similar operation to that of the first aircraft, which completed its first evacuation and rescue mission in the early hours of Thursday, is being prepared. There will be COVID-19 detection tests to detect possible cases of contagion, with the assistance of the Ministry of Health and the Red Cross, and document verification work will be carried out to complete the asylum requests of Afghan citizens arriving in Spanish territory.
The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, and members of the European Commission are also scheduled to visit the Torrejón de Ardoz Air Base in the coming hours to supervise the arrival of evacuees.
After these two missions with two Spanish Army aircraft, as confirmed by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, it will be the turn of a medicalised aircraft to take and attend to those in need of medical assistance or who are injured.
If the same plan is followed as for the first rescue, the Afghans evacuated from their country by the Spanish government will stay for a maximum of 72 hours in the camp set up at the military base in Torrejón de Ardoz and, subsequently, they will be distributed among State reception centres while their asylum request is processed, as reported at the time by the EFE news agency.
It should be remembered that there was an initial list of 400 people to be rescued, but this number was increased to 800 in order to be able to save as many people as possible. On the other hand, several members of the Spanish special police forces formed a detachment in charge of searching Kabul for anyone who could be rescued and who might be under Spanish responsibility.
The situation in Afghanistan continues to be tense after the Taliban seized power. After a rapid operation to conquer several provinces, facilitated by the departure of the international troops present on the ground, they arrived in Kabul to negotiate a transfer of power with the Afghan government and thus take control of the country. Many people fear for their lives in Afghanistan in the face of possible retaliation by the Taliban or the possible implementation of a political and social system subject to a strict view of Islamic law. All this against a backdrop of protests and repression on Afghan soil following the Taliban takeover.
For his part, the acting ambassador to Afghanistan, Gabriel Ferrán, who left his post on 5 August, has remained in the Afghan capital to organise the return of the people for whom Spain is responsible. The new ambassador, Ricardo Losa, was scheduled to travel to Afghanistan this week, but the events in Afghanistan disrupted all plans.