-The GEO deputy inspector has told me that they are offering us the team to return to Spain tomorrow. All of them have decided to stay until the end out of responsibility, professionalism and humanity with the Afghans who have collaborated with Spain in some way. If the Government says that no one is left behind, the policemen of this team will not be less. Collaborate in one way or another in their transfer to Spain, and offer them a life in peace and away from extremist violence. I send you the greetings of all the members of this team. ”
They were the first to arrive but also the last to leave. “It couldn’t be otherwise,” says José Antonio, one of the GEO officers who was part of the operation. “We are national police and we would make the same decision again.”
All of them, seated on one side of the stage and on the other, were once again protagonists, “heroes” – that word was used by the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, to define you – of a month of August in which the international presence in a country as complicated and unstable as Afghanistan, now once again subjected to the Taliban yoke, ended in a frenzy.
And they, together with the military sent by the Ministry of Defense, managed to evacuate more than 2,000 people.
Both the Interior Minister and his Foreign counterpart, José Manuel Albares, were in charge of presiding over the event at the Canillas police complex (Madrid) to honor the agents who remained in Kabul until the last minute, participating in the evacuation of Spanish and Afghan collaborators towards national territory.
They are already known as ‘The 20 of Kabul’: 10 members of GEO and 7 of the IPU, mostly known as riot control to which should be added three other agents of special operations that arrived as reinforcement in Afghanistan during the most complicated days, in the collapsed airfield of the Asian country. All except one of them were present at the tribute.
“We are a serious nation, where the values that define a democracy are consolidated,” said the minister, whose voice broke in some moments of his speech.
“The mission is not finished. The mission continues. As long as there is a person at risk, the obligation and duty of all of us is to continue acting,” said the Interior Minister. “A mission ended, but the mission has not ended because the government” is not going to leave anyone behind, “said Albares. The agents complied, both agreed,” beyond duty and what is required. “
Grande-Marlaska also made an important revelation about the agents’ work in the face of the Taliban invasion of the capital. They had to destroy all compromising documents kept in the embassy that could put people who worked with Spain at risk or that could contain confidential and sensitive information. “If they fell into the wrong hands, into the hands of the Taliban, could generate a defenselessness or a serious danger “.
After the act, the agents handed over to Minister Albares the Spanish flag that was flying at the Kabul embassy, which they themselves guarded from their departure from the embassy until their return to Spain. It was the same one that was hung at the opening of that property, intact since then, in 2005.
Red Badge Medal
The head of diplomacy has also guaranteed that he will work so that “in the not too distant future and in circumstances more conducive to Afghanistan”, the diplomatic office in the Asian country can be reopened.
At this time, the Government, as well as the intelligence services, continue to work to help those who could not take the rescue flights out.
As EL ESPAÑOL has learned, it is expected that the 20 GEO and UIP agents will also be awarded the Police Merit Medal with a red badge. The 1964 law describing why each police medal is awarded describes the red medal as follows: “Perform, in circumstances of danger to your person, a self-sacrificing deed or one that shows high value in the official, with prestige for the Corporation or utility for the service “.
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