We will leave no one behind“announced the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, to underline the Government’s commitment to rescue Afghans who have collaborated with the Embassy and with the Spanish troops in that country.

But some are finding it increasingly difficult to stay hopeful. Translators and Afghan employees of the Embassy have been hiding in their homes since the weekend, waiting for a call that does not arrive, to take a plane to Spain.

“We are all at home, calm, waiting”, explains to this newspaper Wakil, who for the last nine years has worked in maintenance work at the Spanish Embassy, ​​”I don’t understand where the plane is, we don’t know when it will come“.

Wakil hopes to travel to Spain with his wife and four children, ages 10, 8, 3 and 2. In conversation with this newspaper, he emphasizes that the Spanish Embassy has been closed since the weekend and all employees remain at home, waiting for the call from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to go to the airport.

Wakil then asks the journalist if he has any news of the plane that will come to his rescue, and is discouraged to learn that the two A400M military aircraft sent from Zaragoza airport are still in Dubai, waiting to be able to land in Kabul.

Wakil and the rest of the Afghan employees of the Spanish Embassy (several of whom carry out maintenance and cleaning tasks) do not dare to leave their homes because Taliban soldiers already patrol the streets of Kabul: having collaborated with a foreign embassy makes them automatically suspected of being “enemies” of the new radical Islamic regime.

Despite the promises of the Government of Pedro Sanchez, two factors make it increasingly difficult to evacuate these Afghan collaborators to Spain. The new authorities of the Taliban regime have announced an “amnesty” for all members of the previous government headed by Ashraf Ghani., who left the country on Monday amid accusations of corruption.

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A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Kabul maintains that Ghani and his closest associates left the country in four vehicles and a helicopter literally laden with cash.

Wakil, who has been working for the Spanish Embassy for nine years, along with an image of the Taliban who have entered Kabul.


Despite promises of amnesty, the new Taliban regime seems less willing to spare the lives of Afghans who have collaborated with member countries of the US-led international coalition. Taliban soldiers have been controlling the access to Kabul airport since Tuesday: they only allow foreign personnel to enter the airfield, but not Afghan citizens.

Spain’s Afghan collaborators have yet another difficulty to overcome. Army sources consulted by EL ESPAÑOL indicate that it will be practically impossible to organize a protected military convoy to pick them up from their homes and transfer them to the airport.

Therefore, they will have to cross the city together with their families, by their own means, defying the presence of the Taliban soldiers. Unlike the Embassy staff and the national police in charge of their security, who remain concentrated in a place near the airport, waiting for the two rescue planes to arrive.

In addition to the Afghan employees, the Government has undertaken to transfer to Spain the interpreters who have assisted the Spanish troops integrated, in recent years, in the international coalition.

A “terrible outlook”

Some of these translators were recruited in Spain -after a prior scrutiny of their backgrounds by the National Intelligence Center (CNI) – but the majority were recruited in the country itself. All of them are in the same situation as Wakil, waiting with their families for the call that indicates that they can now go to the airport to take the plane to Spain.

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The professor at the University of Comillas Ignacio Alvaro, who has worked for five years in Afghanistan in cooperation, notes that many Afghans have started to abandon their properties and are desperately seeking to leave the country, because they have an “appalling fear” of the Taliban troops.

“It is true that the Taliban have entered Kabul without violence,” he says, “but many people face a terrible panorama. If not, there would not have been scenes like those of Monday at the airport, with people literally getting on the wing of a plane to try to flee “.

Ignacio Álvaro worked for three years in Afghanistan, between 2005 and 2007, for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). He then continued in the country in charge of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

Kidnapped and extorted

“Some of our collaborators have been kidnapped and extorted by the Taliban,” he tells this newspaper, “in recent years many women continued to wear a veil or burqa, but they had freedoms that they will not be able to continue enjoying. The situation is dramatic“.

The Comillas University professor notes that the Taliban are now seeking a certain “international recognition”: they have reached a non-interference pact with China and Russia, because Vladimir Putin is not interested in their being able to destabilize neighboring former Soviet republics such as Tajikistan .

The new regime will have some sympathy from the Persian Gulf monarchies – the country’s new leader, Baradar Akhund, has taken refuge in Qatar for the past few years – who do not look down on the birth of a new Islamic theocracy. And most likely, it will use the opium trade to finance itself as the Colombian guerrillas of the FARC did for years with cocaine, points out Ignacio Álvaro.


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