2 aircraft heading for Dubai aim to pick up Spanish citizens, Afghans who have assisted Spain.
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) – In response to the Taliban takeover of Kabul, Spain is accelerating its plans to evacuate personnel from Afghanistan by sending two military planes to Dubai on Monday.
The two A400 planes aim to pick up Spanish citizens who are still in Afghanistan, most of whom work for the embassy, as well as Afghan citizens who have assisted Spain over the years.
The airplanes are designed to carry 116 fully equipped troops and land on small and unprepared airstrips, according to manufacturer Airbus.
Phase one of the plan is sending the airplanes to Dubai. But the Spanish government has yet to reveal phase two.
Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande Marlaska told a local broadcaster that embassy staff and security personnel are now at the Kabul airport, which he described as a “safe place for now.”
He said they will be brought to Spain “as soon as possible,” but could not provide a clear timeline.
Meanwhile, an Afghan interpreter who has worked with Spanish authorities told a Spanish media outlet that his situation remains highly uncertain.
“The Spanish embassy has called us … I know they’re sending airplanes to Dubai now, but we’re waiting at home and I don’t know when they’re going to come,” said the 39-year-old man.
He said he is afraid and assumes that the Taliban will realize that he worked with the Spanish army because they “have intelligence and know everything.”
“A friend of mine worked with foreigners in the province of Tajar and he told me that three weeks after occupying the region, the Taliban had compiled a list of collaborators. My friend had left his home, but his family told him the Taliban came around searching for him,” said the interpreter.
Spain has not given the precise number of Afghan citizens that it wants to bring to Spain, though media suggests that Spain has worked with around 50 Afghan interpreters.
Unlike Canada, which has promised to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees, Spain has only committed to repatriating its local staff.