PRESS RELEASE 174
José Manuel Albares announces start of repatriation of staff from Spanish embassy in Kabul
13/08/2021
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, today expressed his grave concern over the deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan following the advances made by the Taliban forces in their march towards Kabul, and announced the start of the repatriation of embassy staff, of the Spaniards who remain in the country and of those Afghans and their families who have worked side-by-side with us. He added that “Spain is prepared for any eventuality, including the evacuation of the embassy, should this prove necessary and it will not leave anyone behind”.

The Taliban have already taken over some of the main cities in the country (including Kandahar and Herat) and are presently some 150 kilometres from the capital. Given the serious deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan following the advance of the Taliban forces in their march towards Kabul, Minister Albares expressed his grave concern over the serious consequences for the Afghan people, stressing that Spain will not recognise a government imposed by force. “We condemn the rising number of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, particularly in those areas and cities controlled by the Talban”, stressed the minister.

Spain is coordinating, together with its partners and allies within the framework of the European Union and NATO, a response that guarantees the protection of our interests in Afghanistan to the benefit of the Afghan people. We continue to call for the resumption of negotiations and a complete and permanent ceasefire.

Spaniards in Afghanistan

Only a few Spaniards remain in Afghanistan. Apart from embassy staff, there are only six other Spaniards in the country, all in Kabul, except for one international public servant protected by the organisation he works for.

The minister confirmed that “the Spanish Embassy in Kabul is in permanent contact with all these Spaniards. Furthermore, all Spaniards that still remain in the country have the possibility of signing up for the evacuation operation that may be organised by the government. Their safety is our primary concern”.

In fact, a NATO meeting took place this afternoon, which reviewed the evolution of events and information was exchanged on maintaining a diplomatic presence in Kabul.

The United States, for example, has already announced that it will shortly begin to reduce its civilian personnel in Afghanistan in light of the situation and its embassy in Kabul will be reduced to a skeleton staff on 31 August. To this end, Washington plans to temporarily deploy security forces (up to 3,000 servicemen) with the aim of facilitating the evacuation of these staff in a safe and coordinated fashion.

For its part, the United Kingdom has also announced that it will shortly begin to withdraw some of its staff from the British Embassy in Kabul, which will be reduced to the ambassador and a basic team.

Repatriation of Afghan workers 

“We are aware of the need to protect, in coordination with the rest of the EU Member States and with NATO, those Afghans and their families that have worked alongside us”. This ministerial department, in contact with the Ministries of Defence, of Home Affairs and of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, is working to coordinate the transfer of those Afghan citizens that have collaborated with Spain’s military missions and cooperation projects in Afghanistan. “No-one will be left behind”, concluded the minister.


-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-​​

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