According to the Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Francisco André, the 210 refugees, all of Afghan nationality, arrived 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 forces, with those from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) or with those from the United Nations in Afghanistan, as well as family members of some who 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, girls, judges, jurists, journalists and even some family members of the Afghan women’s football team who are already 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.
Francisco André indicated that everyone is in good health and that there is only one woman who is in the final stage of her pregnancy, so she is being monitored by the health authorities.
At Lisbon airport, the refugees were received by the High Commissioner for Migration, Sónia Pereira, and will be sent, for now, to various support centres 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 said that Portugal does not have a defined number of refugees to take in, indicating, however, that in the coming weeks, "another significant number" of others should arrive, but without giving any further 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 respond to any needs”, added Francisco André, stressing that the entire process must be done with “discretion and security”.
“With this, while not complete, the process of withdrawing almost all the Afghan citizens who worked with our forces [in Afghanistan] and their families is practically complete. This was one of the priorities assumed by Portugal in mid-August. But there is still a very small number of people to reach Portugal. The vast majority are already in Portugal”, he concluded.