The foreign ministry announced on Sunday August 15 that France will deploy military reinforcements to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to facilitate the evacuation of its nationals, after moving its embassy to Kabul airport in the face of the meteoric advance of the Taliban, now at the gates of the Afghan capital.
“The Ministry of the Armed Forces will deploy military reinforcements and air assets in the United Arab Emirates in the coming hours, so that the first evacuations to Abu Dhabi can begin”, wrote the Quai d’Orsay in a press release, adding to have also “Decided to relocate the embassy to the Kabul airport site (…) in order to proceed in particular with the evacuation of all of our compatriots”.
Emmanuel Macron, who follows “The situation hour by hour”, must preside Monday at 12 noon by videoconference a Defense Council.
The French authorities claim to be “In contact with the French who have made their mark” and recall that these “Methodical evacuation operations of our nationals have been underway for weeks”. The French present in Afghanistan had been invited in April to leave the country and a special flight had been chartered on July 16.
The Elysee for its part underlined that the “Immediate and absolute priority in the coming hours (was) the security of the French as well as the personnel on the spot, French and Afghan”.
President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday, effectively handing over power to the Taliban who reached Kabul, symbol of their total military victory, in an offensive of just ten days. The Taliban also took control on Sunday of the last border post still in the hands of the Afghan government: that of Torkham, on the border with Pakistan. This means that the insurgents now have control over all of Afghanistan’s borders, making Kabul airport the country’s last exit.
The radical Islamist movement is therefore preparing to return to power, twenty years after being ousted from it by a coalition led by the United States because of its refusal to hand over the leader of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, to the after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Suspension of expulsions of Afghan migrants
France has also reiterated its desire to “Continue to protect personalities of Afghan civil society, rights defenders, artists and journalists who are particularly threatened for their commitment. Everything is currently being done to maintain, as much as possible, a visa issuance capacity ”.
Friday, Paris had promised “An exceptional effort” to welcome to France Afghan personalities threatened for their commitment to human rights or freedom of expression – artists, journalists and rights defenders. Paris specifies having organized since May the reception of 625 Afghans employed in the French structures present in Afghanistan and their families.
France, which has had recourse in recent years to locally recruited civilians to help its staff on site, in particular interpreters, has already organized the reception of 550 people with their families between 2013 and 2015 and 800 in 2018 and 2019 , specifies the Elysee. And like other European countries, France has since July suspended the expulsions of Afghan migrants who have refused their asylum applications.