Second plane with 160 Afghan refugees from Pakistan reaches Spain
MADRID: A second planeload of Afghan refugees arrived in Spain from Pakistan on Tuesday, a government source said, a day after the first flight for people who worked for Madrid in the war-torn country.
Tuesday’s flight, carrying 160 people, arrived at 8:45 pm local time (1845 GMT) at the Torrejon de Ardoz military airbase outside Madrid, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Officials sources have said that 84 people arrived on the first plane Monday.
Spain’s evacuations have been weeks in the making, with Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares visiting Pakistan and Qatar in early September to lay the groundwork.
Madrid evacuated more than 2,000 people, most of them Afghans who had worked for Spain and their families, during the western withdrawal as the Taliban seized power in Kabul in August.
But the flights had to stop once the final American troops that had been protecting the Afghan capital’s airport left.
The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, on Friday urged the bloc’s member states to host a “minimum” of between 10,000 and 20,000 more Afghan refugees.
“To welcome them, we have to evacuate them, and we’re getting down to it, but it’s not easy,” he said in Madrid.
The EU has said a demand by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to take in 42,500 Afghan refugees over five years can be achieved — although any decision lies with member states.
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