In the light of the rapid progress of the Taliban movement across the country, Spain announced on Friday that it had begun expelling the remaining civilians in Afghanistan in addition to embassy staff and Afghan colleagues in Kabul.
“The embassy staff and Spaniards who stayed in the country and the Afghans who worked with us and their families are beginning to return,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albaris said in a statement.
“Spain is ready for any event, including the evacuation of the embassy if necessary,” he said.
In addition to the people at the embassy, there were six more Spanish nationals in Afghanistan on Friday, the ministry said.
“The ministry is working with other ministries to replace Afghan nationals who have collaborated on Spanish military missions and cooperation programs in Afghanistan,” the statement said.
Since 2014, Spain has granted refugee status to 55 Afghan translators and their relatives, according to the Interior Ministry.
Interior Ministry sources told AFP that the ministry would “consider” any request for international security submitted by Afghan translators and others who have worked with Spanish forces since arriving in Spain.
A Defense Ministry source told AFP that Madrid was “exploring the possibility of bringing translators and others who worked with Spanish forces to Spain” in Afghanistan, but did not specify a timetable.
Spain withdrew its last troops from Afghanistan in May 2021 after a mission that lasted nearly two decades.
The United States and other countries such as the United Kingdom, Norway and Denmark have announced plans to expel their diplomatic staff and nationals from Afghanistan.
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