Another 210 Afghan refugees arrived in Lisbon this Tuesday, joining the 266 who have been in Portugal since the beginning of the withdrawal process from Afghanistan, in the August annex, revealed to Lusa, a government source.
According to the Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Francisco André, of the 210 refugees, all of Afghan nationality, arrived in Lisbon around 18:55, in a group that includes a large number of women and children.
In total, Francisco André noted, Portugal has already hosted 476 Afghan refugees, mainly people who collaborated with the Portuguese military windows, with those of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or with those of the United Nations in Afghanistan, as well as family members of some that are already in Portuguese territory.
The group also includes those whom Francisco André considered “vulnerable” to the Taliban regime, which took power in Kabul in August, such as human rights activists, women, young women, judges, jurists, journalists and even some family members of football players Afghan female who has already met in Portugal.
“With the arrival of 266 Afghan refugees, the commitment that Portugal assumed in response to the international appeal to receive refugees from Afghanistan is almost complete”, Francisco André told Lusa, admitting that there is “a small number” of Afghan citizens who “ it will not exceed like two tens”.
Francisco André indicated that, at the outset, everyone is in good health and that there is only one woman who is in the final stage of her pregnancy, which is why she is already being monitored by the health authorities.
The withdrawal operations were coordinated by the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with USAID (United States cooperation agency) and also involved the Jesuit Refugee Service and various foundations, as well as a non-governmental organization.
At Lisbon airport, the refugees were received by the High Commissioner for Migration, Sónia Pereira, and sent, for now, to various support centers in Portugal, so that they can then be divided according to the interests of each one, especially in the case of family members.
The secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation added that Portugal does not have a defined number of refugees to indicate, however, that, in the coming weeks, “another significant number” of others should arrive, but without giving details.
“We continue to work in this direction, to get Afghans out of the country. We have now reached almost five hundred and we are trying to adapt our reception capacity to meet the needs”, added Francisco André, stressing that the entire process has to be done with “discretion and security”.
“With this, it is not concluded, but the process of withdrawing almost all Afghan citizens who worked with our molds is practically concluded. [no Afeganistão] and their families. This was one of the priorities assumed by Portugal in the August release. But there is still a very small number of people to reach Portugal. The vast majority are already in Portugal”, he concluded.