Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Spain’s foreign minister says country’s hub for Afghan refugees can host 1,000 people

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares has told local media that Spain is keeping up evacuations of Afghans who have collaborated with the country, adding that its ‘hub’ can hold 1,000 people.

In a Friday interview with Spanish television network RTVE, Albares said the country is continuing to evacuate Afghans out of Kabul to a ‘hub‘ located in Dubai before they will go to Spain and other EU nations.

He called Friday a “hopeful day,” as the latest evacuating flight brought 110 people from Afghanistan to Spain’s hub in Dubai, just three hours from the chaotic scenes in Kabul.

He said the bulk of the 110 people on board were Afghans who have been collaborating with Spain.

On Wednesday morning, Spain’s immigration minister, Jose Luis Escriva, outlined the country’s process for welcoming Afghan refugees: “They will spend a maximum of 72 hours in the provisional device of the Torrejon base before going to the resources of the State reception system, where they will begin their integration process.

Escriva said Spain had a responsibility to help the Afghan asylum seekers who have had “such a hard and complicated life.” He said what Spain needs to do is “welcome them with empathy.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered to create the ‘hub‘ for Afghan refugees on Tuesday, and Spain has been running evacuation flights since Wednesday.

Foreign policy within the EU regarding Afghan refugees has varied among member states. Some countries such as Spain have expressed their willingness to open their arms to civilians trying to escape the country now controlled by the Taliban. Others, such as the Netherlands and Switzerland, initially said that they would continue to deport illegal Afghans back to their war-torn nation, however, after the security situation and humanitarian crisis there worsened, decided to freeze such deportations.

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