Conflicts & War

Spain’s Rota welcomes over 1,700 Afghan refugees with open arms

By María José Romero

Rota (Cadiz), Aug 31 (EFE).- The naval air base of Rota, in Spain’s southern city of Cadiz, has become the reception center for over 1,700 Afghan refugees fleeing Kabul after the Taliban takeover.

“The brave men and women and children from Afghanistan that you see behind us have left their entire lives behind, fleeing a desperate situation and relying on the compassion of strangers, of these people, from far away lands,” director of maritime headquarters for US Europe and Africa command, RDML Ben Reynolds, said Tuesday.

Some 100 Afghan women from ages 18 to 25 arrived in Rota Tuesday, according to Reynolds.

“It is unbelievably heartwarming that we are able to help, but also very sad that these people leave their families for quite some time,” he said.

The US and Spanish navy have joined forces to assist refugees arriving in Rota, a first stop for the many Afghans destined to be relocated across US states.

The air base has turned into a temporary camp and makeshift US consulate, with three military barracks and 53 tents with the capacity to accommodate some 1,500 people.

“We are providing housing, food and a safe and secure environment for these evacuees,” the commanding officer at Rota station, Captain David Baird, told reporters.

Many of the refugees left their belongings behind, arriving with very little but clothes and cell phones.

Spain’s reception has been warm, with the Rota community pouring their hearts to support the Afghan refugees forced to leave their homes and lives behind.

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