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Denmark first in EU to help its Afghan workers escape Taliban violence

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By Euronews with AP, AFP
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Afghan security personnel take a position during fighting between Taliban and Afghan security forces in Herat province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 3, 2021.
Afghan security personnel take a position during fighting between Taliban and Afghan security forces in Herat province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 3, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo / Hamed Sarfarazi
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Denmark has become the first country in the European Union to offer residency to those it has worked with in Afghanistan.

The offer is open to Afghan nationals that have worked at the Danish embassy in Kabul and or as interpreters with the country's troops.

It comes as Taliban insurgents make swift gains in the country, sparking security concerns and the prospect of them taking power.

Spain has also indicated it is working on a Kabul evacuation plan to help Afghan nationals it has worked with.

Danish MPs approved the measure on Wednesday and about 45 people are eligible for evacuation to Denmark along with their spouses and children

"The security situation in Afghanistan is serious. The Taliban are gaining ground and development is accelerating more than many had feared,” the Danish foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

“We have a common responsibility to help the Afghans who are now threatened due to their connection and contribution to Denmark’s involvement in Afghanistan,” it added.

It also said that the evacuations should begin as soon as possible but be carried out gradually “so that the embassy still can function".

Those evacuated will be screened both in Afghanistan and upon arrival in Denmark where they will undergo “a security interview with the immigration authorities and other relevant Danish authorities.”

“It will be a condition for the right to the two-year stay in Denmark that the evacuated persons are not considered to pose a danger to Denmark’s security,” the statement said.

Denmark, like other Western nations, recently pulled its remaining troops out of Afghanistan.

Its announcement follows similar moves by the US and UK which both said earlier this year that they would facilitate the relocation of Afghan nationals who worked with their troops during their deployment in the country.

A Spanish diplomatic source told Euronews on Thursday that Spain was also working on a Kabul evacuation plan for Afghans who had worked with Spanish organisations, along with their families. "We are working as fast as possible," the source said.

The number of people on the list being drawn up by Madrid is expected to be bigger than the 45 announced by Denmark.

Sweden is also reportedly considering plans to relocate its Afghan employees.

The Danish government has not yet announced its plans to suspend the deportation of Afghan migrants due to the instability in their country.

Germany, the Netherlands and France have all suspended the deportation of rejected Afghan asylum seekers amid concerns over the security situation in Afghanistan.

Taliban insurgents captured a strategic provincial capital near Kabul on Thursday, the 10th the group has taken in a weeklong sweep across Afghanistan just weeks before the end of the American military mission there.

The latest US military intelligence assessment suggests Kabul could come under insurgent pressure within 30 days and that, if current trends hold, the Taliban could gain full control of the country within a few months.