What awaits Afghans after arriving in Spain?

by Deborah Cater
Afghans leaving Kabul for Spain will be housed in a temporary camp

Spain is repatriating people from Afghanistan. Today two more planes land in Spain. The Afghans are received in the temporary reception camp in Torrejón and from there they start their journey to apply for asylum in Spain or elsewhere in Europe.

The personnel of the Spanish army and the air force are doing everything they can to get Spaniards and Afghans who worked for Spain out of the country. Several flights have already taken place between Zaragoza, Dubai, Kabul and Madrid to evacuate them.

Three planes carrying Afghan refugees in Spain this week

On Wednesday, the first plane landed in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid) with 53 people on board. Later this afternoon, a second plane carrying three entire families will land at the Spanish air base. The Spanish prime minister said earlier on Friday that a third plane with 110 people on board took off from Kabul towards Dubai at around 6.30 am on Friday morning. This AirEurope plane will leave Dubai for Spain soon.

At 1:30 p.m. Friday, another plane will depart from Paris for Torrejón with Afghan personnel and their families who have worked for Spain in Afghanistan.

Spanish minister admits chaotic conditions in Kabul

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles acknowledges the chaotic and inhumane situation in Kabul at the moment. She tells La Sexta that the defence personnel don’t want to leave anyone behind. However, the situation is such that it makes the repatriation work extremely difficult at times.

JammFM Radio

What happens to Afghan refugees once they arrive in Spain?

After arrival in Torrejón, all passengers are transferred to the hangars for a medical check, including a corona test. A psychologist will also be present because the people have had to leave their country under severe circumstances.

After the medical check-up, they are taken to a specially set up camp on the grounds of the Torrejón airbase. Up to 800 people can be accommodated here. On one side of the camp women with children stay in dome tents; and on the other side the men stay in larger pavilions. There is also a playground so the children can play.

Afghans can apply for asylum in Spain or abroad

The refugees will stay in this place for a maximum of 72 hours until the person tests negative for Covid-19 and until all procedures for applying for asylum are completed. From this camp, people who do not want to apply for asylum in Spain will be transferred to other EU countries where they can do so.

Those who wish to stay in Spain are transferred to reception centers where they are offered a language course by the government. This will enable them to look for a job in Spain. They also receive the necessary psychological help. Apartments will be made available for larger families from which the Afghans will go through the asylum procedure.

Migration Minister Escrivá informed Antena3 the aim of the integration process is that after 6 to 9 months these people can start living on their own and become part of the Spanish labour market and society.

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