Macron says France will not abandon Afghans

PTI, Aug 17, 2021, 8:43 AM IST

Paris: President Emmanuel Macron promised on Monday that France would not abandon Afghans who worked for his country — from translators to kitchen staff, as well as artists, activists and others under threat from the Taliban.

Macron said that protecting those who helped France over the years is an “absolute urgency,” adding that two military transport planes, with special forces, were due to arrive in Kabul “in the coming hours.” The exact timing was not immediately clear since the United States temporarily shut down the Kabul airport to civilian and military flights following deadly chaos on the tarmac that left at least seven people dead. The aircraft would fly from a base in Abu Dhabi, a transit stop for France’s evacuees.
According to Macron’s pre-recorded speech, it’s not known how many would be involved in the evacuation. France has already pulled out some 1,400 Afghan employees and families, and evacuated citizens on a charter flight in July. Paris withdrew all its soldiers from Afghanistan after 13 years by December 2014, but continued work with civil society.

The French president vowed that the fight against “Islamic terrorism in all its forms” would not end. “Afghanistan cannot again become the sanctuary for terrorism that it was,” Macron said. Stability can only come about through political and diplomatic actions to be defined in the days ahead with the U.N. Security Council. “We will do everything so that Russia, the United States and Europe can cooperate efficiently because our interests are the same,” he said and also said France — along with Germany and other European countries — would work swiftly on developing a “robust response” to another major concern for many countries, a flux of irregular migration by Afghans. Afghanistan, he said, “will also need in the times ahead its (people) and Europe cannot alone assume the consequences of the current situation.


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