The Minister of National Defense revealed that Portugal has appointed 72 Afghans who collaborated with the Portuguese military in Afghanistan that it intends to withdraw from the country, to the “moral duty” of helping these citizens.
“We have today identified 19 families with a total of 72 people who are still in Kabul or Afghanistan to evacuate,” said João Gomes Cravinho, who was speaking in parliament at the National Defense Commission, where he was heard this afternoon about the end of the mission. of the National Forces Detached in Afghanistan, following a question made by the deputy of the CDS-PP, Pedro Morais Soares.
“Right now, we are in contact, out of those 72, with 45. Twenty-seven have not responded to the last contact, but we will continue to try to contact them,” added the governor, who happened that all these families are available.
For now, he added, the families in question are doing well, but like the other allies, Portugal is “looking to look for help to get them out”.
“It is estimated that there will be around 1,800 people in similar circumstances for the group of NATO countries and, therefore, of these 1,800, 72 have open doors if they want to come to Portugal and when there are conditions for that,” he said.
Gomes Cravinho highlighted the “absolutely remarkable work, in circumstances of enormous difficulty”, of the four soldiers who went to Afghanistan for the last time to help with the evacuation of the country’s citizens, in late August, which completed bringing “56 people from that country” at the time. initial universe of 116, which, however, later increased to 139 because other names were added”.
“We established from the beginning that Portugal had a moral duty to receive in Portugal those who had collaborated with the Portuguese Detached National Forces and who were naturally in danger of life, precisely for that reason, that is, they risked their lives to work with our messages and that is why we have this moral duty to support them and their families,” he maintained.
João Gomes Cravinho also stressed that “no idea of a military rescue is on the table”, that currently the dialogue with the Taliban regime is carried out through Turkey.
“What he wants is that through dialogue with a regime that, hopefully, will want to show some good will, that will create conditions for exit. We also know that some who have left on their own foot, literally, crossing borders and in some processes have succeeded get in touch with Portuguese authorities and make your way to Portugal duly supported, “not wanting to give more details so as not to put any of these citizens in danger.
According to the minister, Portugal has already marked 197 refugees from Afghanistan, maintaining the opening to receive more, in a work that has been done jointly by the Government by several ministries and entities, namely the Internal Administration.
After being questioned by the CDS deputy about whether there is a “tracking” of these people, the person responsible for the tutelage pointed out that they are accompanied “because their documentation is being processed and naturally also needs initial support, initial installation times and Portugal”
The Taliban conquered Kabul on 15 August, concluding an offensive in May, when the withdrawal of US and NATO military forces, which had been in the country since 2001, began following the fight against al-Qaida after the terrorist attacks in September 11, 2001.