A plane carrying 294 Afghans and their families who worked for Spain landed in the country on a flight from Pakistan on Wednesday night.

Most of the families have been taken to centres managed by charities and groups like the Cruz Roja.

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares was at the Torrejon de Ardoz airbase to meet them when the flight from Islamabad landed at 10.15 pm.

The government would now work ‘to help these people to integrate, given that it will be difficult for them to return to Afghanistan in the near future’, Albares told reporters.

Like other Western nations, Spain in August 2021 rushed to evacuate Afghans who helped Spanish troops and diplomats, as the Taliban insurgents made quick land gains across Afghanistan.

Spain evacuated around 3,000 people during the Western withdrawal as the Taliban seized power.

Most of them were Afghans at risk of reprisals from the new Taliban rulers for having worked for Spanish forces or the Spanish embassy during nearly two decades of a Western presence in Afghanistan.

The flights ended once the final US troops that had been protecting Kabul’s airport left at the end of August 2021.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said at the time that Madrid would not ‘lose interest in the Afghans who had remained’ in their country but wanted to leave.

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