A unit of the Special Operations Command (MOE) of the Spanish Army, better known as the ‘green berets’, is assisting at Kabul airport in the repatriation of civilian personnel from Afghanistan.
The Spanish Defense Secretary Robles informed CadenaSer on Tuesday morning during her explanation regarding the operation to evacuate Afghans.
“The Taliban are getting more and more aggressive,”
Robles said in the “Hoy por hoy” program.
For Spain the Afghan refugee evacuation operation is coordinated and managed from the airport of the Torrejón de Ardoz base in Madrid. Like the many other countries which had troops in Afghanistan they are trying to rescue Afghans as quickly as possible.
The Green Berets, who also call themselves guerrillas, has more than two decades of experience. Most of their tours have been in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bosnia, Iraq, Mali, Kosovo, and the Central African Republic.
Currently, they have a continuous presence in Iraq and Lebanon, while also carrying out shorter security missions in other parts of the world. Most recently in several Maghreb and Sahel countries such as Tunisia, Mauritania, and Senegal.
Typically, they participate in missions in conflict zones, peace missions, humanitarian operations and collaborate with other armies and other countries. As such, they are experts in skydiving, precision shooting, mountain, and underwater activities.
The 900 strong unit is led by General Raimundo Rodríguez Roca. And based in the Alférez Rojas Navarrete barracks in the city of Alicante.
On Tuesday 230 people had already landed in Dubai, whilst another plane was going to take another 130 people to Dubai and arrived there Tuesday night.
The Spanish minister called the situation “dramatic” and said it is “deteriorating every day”. There are still Afghans who have worked with Spain and urgently need to leave the country. On television, we get several secretly taken pictures and moving pictures from Western television crews showing the aggressiveness of the Taliban, who does not seem to keep to its promises to have a softer touch than twenty years ago. A great problem many of the interpreters and translators are facing today is that no Afghan people are allowed to go to the national airport. This makes it very difficult for those who are in Kabul but also in Herat, because over there, there are still a lot of co-workers. These cities are at a distance of 3 hours by car from each other. But the Spanish minister assures
“We are removing as many people as possible.”
According to the minister, there are families who cannot reach the airport in Kabul. But also do not know how to return to their homes. There are curfews in Kabul and everywhere people are confronted with checkpoints of the Taliban.
“The humanitarian drama is so big that we are really doing everything we can,”
said the minister last Tuesday.
“The priority list has been expanded to include women and children. Yesterday a 15-day old baby arrived. Some come with their elderly parents. One who wouldn’t come because she didn’t want to leave her 80-year-old mother, eventually came because her mother could come.”
In the Netherlands and Belgium, we also find such refugees, as well as family members who were on holiday in Afghanistan visiting their families.
The Spanish Defense Minister confirms the Spanish Government will continue to try and remove the largest number of collaborators from the country. But warns – the bailouts of Spain will continue as long as the US is there.
That the evacuating forces have to be careful is already proven in the Netherlands, Belgium and France, where some Afghan people could enter the aeroplanes, though here they are on the watchlist or even more dangerously on the terror list.
This may not be a reason to stop the evacuations or to make it more difficult to get on the planes acting as the gateway to Europe and a safe and better life.
The EU nations asked the American government to extend the deadline of August 31, because it will be impossible to evacuate all vulnerable Afghans who in the past have helped our troops. But US President Joe Biden has confirmed yesterday that all US-led evacuation operations will end next week, because:
“The sooner we can finish, the better… each day of operations brings added risk to our troops.”
At the moment it does not seem to go too bad with those evacuations, which started up very chaotic and slowly. We hear that already over 70,000 Afghans have been evacuated from the nation, but vast crowds, desperately trying to flee the country, continue to gather outside Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday morning, the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said a further 2,000 people had been airlifted out of Kabul airport in the past 24 hours, taking the total number evacuated since the operation began in mid-August to more than 9,000.
The pressure to save British and other allies such as interpreters and their families is intensifying by the hour after US President Joe Biden rejected calls to delay his Aug 31 exit date from Afghanistan.
British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said it would not make sense to try to secure Kabul airport with British troops after the US pulls out.
“It’s not about effectively whether I could fly in thousands of troops and secure the airport.
“Yes I could do that, I could probably secure the airport for a few months, or maybe a year or two,”
he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“But for what purpose? For them to be shot at, attacked, people not to get to the airport and to trigger just a permanent fight? I don’t think that is a solution.”
To make sure the Western forces would be gone by September 1, the Taliban has issued a second warning that any extension to the August 31st deadline would “provoke a reaction” while describing it as a “red line”.
- Taliban conquest of Afghanistan a clock to turn back years
- Worse Than Saigon
- Afghanistan: international community statement
- Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi
- Afghanistan — What It Tells You
- Moving heaven and earth to get every last American in Afghanistan back to American soil
- Expecting the E.U. to stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan
- The Fall of Kabul: The Return of the Taliban
- Afghan mums throw their babies over barbed wire fences and beg British soldiers to take them to safety