The Foreign Ministry has assured that it will also help Afghan translators and other workers who collaborated with the Spanish troops

Spain prepares the repatriation of its nationals in Afghanistan while the Taliban advance continues

photo_camera Atalayar_traductores afganistán

Afghanistan is falling to the Taliban expansion. The white Taliban flag is already flying in 18 provincial capitals, including Herat, Kandahar and Ghazni. The seizure of these key cities brings the insurgents' threat closer to Kabul, where they could reach in a few days, according to analysts. On the other hand, some estimate that the fall of the Afghan capital is a matter of hours, as the Taliban have reached Maidan Shahr, just 20 kilometres from Kabul. The Afghan army has launched a counter-offensive to defend the town, which is considered the gateway to the capital. However, given previous clashes between Afghan national forces and insurgents, a Taliban victory is most likely.

With this critical situation threatening Kabul, several nations are finalising the repatriation of their citizens in the country. The Spanish Foreign Ministry has assured that it is working to repatriate its embassy staff in Afghanistan and other Spaniards still in the country. Likewise, the Spanish Minister Jos茅 Manuel Albares has indicated that the government is not going to "leave anyone behind", in reference to the Afghan translators who worked with the Spanish troops and who are now one of the main targets of the Taliban.

atalayar_ministro exteriores Albares
"The Taliban are going to slit the throats of all of us who have worked with the Spanish army".

The transfer of the Afghans who worked with Spaniards, along with their families, is being organised together with the Ministries of Defence, Interior and Social Security and Migration. "We are aware of the need to protect, in coordination with other European Union and NATO member states, those Afghans and their families who have worked side by side with us," Albares said.

Translators who worked with the foreign soldiers have been warning about their situation for months. They receive threats and fear reprisals for working with foreigners. "The Taliban are going to slit the throats of all of us who have worked with the Spanish army," Fawad Ahmad told El Independiente. The US is also working on the transfer of its translators. The first group of 200 interpreters and their families arrived at the end of July. Washington estimates that it will be able to get 2,500 citizens out of the country. For the time being, the US government has begun evacuating staff members from the Kabul embassy. It has also asked diplomatic staff to destroy all confidential documents.

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Canada, another country that participated in the Afghanistan intervention, will take in 20,000 "particularly vulnerable people", such as women politicians, human rights defenders, religious minorities, journalists and members of the LGBTI community. "Canada will not stand idly by," stressed Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Ghani vows to fight the Taliban

On the expansion of the Taliban, the minister warned that Spain will not recognise a government imposed by force, urging a ceasefire between the Afghan army and the insurgents. However, a cessation of hostilities is a rather unlikely scenario given the latest statements by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. "I will try to prevent the conflict from leading to the death of innocent people, the loss of 20 years of gains, the destruction of public infrastructure and prolonged instability," Ghani said. The president also stressed that mobilising Afghan security and defence forces was "a top priority". "I assure you as your president that I will focus on preventing the spread of instability, violence and displacement of my people," he added.

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Ghani also announced the start of talks with several international partners. Domestically, the government has allied itself with two former warlords in the fight against the Taliban. Atta Muhammad Nur and Abdul Rashid Dostum will help the national forces contain the Taliban advance. The two military leaders cooperated in 1997 to drive the Taliban out of Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of the country.

Taliban increase their weaponry

As the insurgents seize new cities, they grow stronger militarily. Barracks and other military installations are the first buildings to be looted by the Taliban. They find US weapons that were provided to Afghan national forces. Among the latest Taliban bounties are several attack and transport helicopters and 6 Scan Egle UAVs. In Herat, one of the latest locations to fall into their hands, they have found a building with a large number of US assault rifles, machine guns and other weapons.

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All this war materiel will facilitate a possible Taliban victory in the battle for Kabul, a city that has not yet recovered from the wounds of the past and is already preparing for a new era of instability and violence.

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