Tue. Nov 30th, 2021


Madrid

Updated:

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Spain has already begun the repatriation of “Fifty people” (55) from Kabul airport, most of them Afghan Embassy staff and translators, at the first flight of one of the three Air Force A400M aircraft that make up the evacuation operation.

After landing in Dubai, where they will make a stopover, they will go up to another A400M bound for Madrid where at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base a host device, with tents, where they will remain until their situation is normalized.

This option, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also includes the ministries of Defense, Interior and Social Inclusion, Social Security and Migration.

First flight from Kabul, with repatriated Afghans and GEO police
First flight from Kabul, with repatriated Afghans and GEO police – MINISDEF

Spain does not expect to make any other flight this Wednesday, being planned resume tomorrow, inform reliable sources. “The instructions of the US military authorities that control air traffic at Kabul airport will always be followed, and they may change,” it is specified.

The same sources report that the US has reached a tacit pact with the Taliban to put some order in the repatriation of diplomatic personnel from Western countries as well as the Afghan collaborators who have worked with them during these last two decades. “How much time will they offer?” We don’t know. It is sensed that it is a matter of days.

The acting ambassador, Gabriel Ferrán, will board the last flight, when the operation concludes

Besides 25 Spaniards from the Embassy, the Spanish authorities hope to be able to repatriate an as yet undetermined number of Afghan collaborators of the Spanish legation and military missions (translators).

The difficulty in this last group is obvious, as many of them have not managed to reach Kabul or are still hiding in the Afghan capital without having reached the airport.

The acting ambassador, Gabriel Ferran, who left his post on August 5, will remain in Kabul until the end of the operation to help evacuate the rest of the people.

Image from one of the A400M windows
Image from one of the windows of the A400M – MINISDEF

There are two lists of names of Afghans and relatives: the one from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the one from the Ministry of Defense. «The number of possible evacuees has shot up to 800 and they can be more », inform sources familiar with the operation. “The figure has skyrocketed,” they clarify, since at the beginning Afghan diplomatic sources alluded to half a thousand.

On a second flight, Spain will take Afghan collaborators from the EU institutions in Kabul. He will transfer them to Madrid and then they will be distributed throughout the European countries.

Spain currently maintains a device with three military aircraft A400M of the Air Force, one of them medicalized, having as Al Minhad intermediate base, in Dubai.

About 80 soldiers from four units are deployed in the operation in Dubai

In each plane there are 6 pilots (three of them specialized in logistical flights without difficulty, such as the one in Madrid-Dubai and another three in tactical flights such as the landing in Kabul) and 6 cargo supervisors. In total, some 80 soldiers have traveled to Dubai with personnel from the Wing 31 crew, of the Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA), battalion Civic Military (CIMIC) of the Army and the Aeroevacuation Medical Unit (UMAER), of the Air Force.

“The plan is for each flight from Kabul to Dubai to board approximately 75 people. It is the optimal flight capacity for the altitude and temperature conditions in Kabul, ”they report.

This data reveals that it is expected to carry out the transfer of Afghan collaborators and Spanish personnel in an orderly manner during the next few days. The initial urgency has given way to more coordinated action thanks to the tacit pact reached between the US and the Taliban.

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