Photo Credit: El Día
The Spanish Government brought 245 Afghan collaborators to the Torrejón de Ardoz Airbase in Madrid on Tuesday, October 12th, since they faced persecution after the Taliban took over the Afghan government.
Spain joined the United States’s intervention in Afghanistan in 2002. Since then, there have been hundreds of Afghan citizens who collaborated with the Spanish embassy, the Spanish Ministry of Defense, and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation. After the United States pulled out of Afghanistan, and the Taliban took over the government, these collaborators faced persecution. In response, the Spanish government set out to bring them as refugees to Spain.
Recently, the rise of the far-right political party, VOX, in Spain has led to some anti-immigrant rhetoric. This could lead to uncomfortable, and even racist environments for the refugees once they get to Spain. However, the citizens in Segovia seemed very welcoming, and even open to receiving the Afghani collaborators.
Mariano, a 45-year-old Spanish man gave his opinion, “I think it’s good [that they’re being brought over] if it’s for the security of those people. I don’t think it’s good if it’s to leave the country at the hands of the Taliban.” When further questioned about his opinion on bringing refugees from countries where Spain has intervened he maintained that refugees should be welcome, “I think it’s good that refugees come, but with precautionary measures to confirm who is coming, to prevent terrorists from coming here camouflaged as refugees.”
Desiderio, another Spanish man, and Segovia resident agreed that the Spanish government should bring those who collaborated with them, “I think this is normal. If these people supported the government during the war, then we should help them. I think it’s good they get support.” When asked what he would say to people who opposed the government bringing over the collaborators he said, “Well then we shouldn’t have gone there from the beginning, we should have left them there with no help.”
Maria Gomez, a university student at the Segovia Campus of the University of Valladolid also agreed that the government should help the refugees from Afghanistan, “I think it’s very good, since they helped and everything.”
When asked about what she thought of those who opposed this movement to bring Afghani collaborators, her friend Sandra, another student at the University of Valladolid, chimed into the conversation and said, “I’m sure that those who are complaining are the rich people that don’t worry about anyone else. The people who live here, we’ve had such luck being born here. But other people who are born in other countries and are having a harder time don’t deserve help? I think that’s fatal. So, I think it’s good that they’re receiving help.”