Ministry of Foreign Affairs pays tribute to Foreign Service staff who undertook the evacuation operation from Afghanistan

José Manuel Albares awards a total of 23 decorations in recognition of the staff who managed to save more than 2,000 Afghans

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation held an event today to recognise and pay tribute to all the staff who took part in the evacuation operation from Afghanistan to award decorations to a total of 23 staff from the Spanish Embassy and other workers who were directly involved in an operation that allowed more than 2,000 Afghans to be brought to safety.

Prior to this emotional ceremony to present the awards, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, sought to pay tribute to the Deputy Inspector of the National Police, Jorge García Tudela, and the police officer, Gabino Sanmartín, who were killed in the attack on the Spanish Embassy in 2015, along with all those Spaniards who lost their lives in the 20 years of Spanish presence in the country who, along with the staff at the Spanish mission, “have given their all to build a better Afghanistan”.

However, he acknowledged that a time came when “this was no longer possible”, and from which time they worked with “conviction and determination” in the task of keeping as many people safe as possible and offering them the chance for a future when their world fell apart around them”.

José Manuel Albares, who described the close coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs, with the Police and with the Ministry of Defence, in the presence of its minister - Margarita Robles – as exemplary, sought to stress the efforts made by the whole Foreign Service that portrays “the finest qualities of our country: solidarity, generosity and commitment”, he stated.

A commitment that continues and which the minister admitted by stating that “we have not forgotten all those who remain in Afghanistan”. José Manuel Albares explained that Spain continues to work at all levels with our partners and with Afghanistan’s neighbours both to bring out those who remain there and to ensure that the new regime cannot destroy the progress made. “Our mission is unfinished”, he closed off by saying.

On behalf of all those who were decorated, the former Spanish Ambassador to Afghanistan, Gabriel Ferrán, sought to highlight the importance of the Foreign Service as part of Spain’s public administration and the difficulties that exist in public opinion for this to be recognised.

The ambassador, decorated with the Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit, did not let the chance go by to state his own recognition of all the embassy staff, stressing the motivation of each of its members, and “the support and understanding” of the ministerial department.

Aside from the ambassador, the following members of staff were also decorated with the Order of Civil Merit: Paula Sánchez, Juan Duarte Cuadrado, Koussay Boulaich Ahmed, Antonio Guillén Hidalgo, Ahmad Baloch, Said Ahmad Wahdat Ahmadzada and Sayed Saber Sayeed. Isabel García Fernández-Llamares was awarded the Order of Isabel la Católica; and Susana Madarnás Piñeiro with the Official Cross of the Order of Isabel la Católica. 

The Official Cross of the Order of Civil Merit was awarded to Manuel González Garagorri, Jaime Moreno Bau and Francisco Javier Muñoz Treceño; while the Cross of the Order of Civil Merit was awarded to Guillermo Samuel Begué Moratalla, Pablo Benítez Jiménez-Ugarte, Javier Carracedo Vicente, Cristina Conesa Sancho; Miguel Ángel de Diego Martín; Fernando Magallanes Mato, Teresa Hergueta Cholmeley, Eva María Jerez Vento, Carolina del Río Vílchez and Víctor Javier Torcal Sánchez.



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