Interior minister says government will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure safety of the French.
PARIS (AA) – France has placed five repatriated Afghan nationals under surveillance over their alleged links with the Taliban, the country’s interior minister announced Monday.
“France is human, but she is also vigilant. In managing the Afghan crisis, the government will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the French,” Gerald Darmanin said in a tweet.
Local media reported that the five men were evacuated from the Afghan capital Kabul and boarded a flight to Paris on Aug.18. They were placed under an “individual measure of administrative control and surveillance” or the MICAS provision of the anti-terrorism laws following security interviews by the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI).
A report on the Sud Ouest news site said that due to the chaotic situation on the ground in Kabul, the DGSI was conducting the interviews in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, from where the evacuation flights are routed to on their way to Paris.
The Interior Ministry has opened an investigation into the case after one of the young men admitted to being linked with the Taliban, including carrying arms for the militant group. He is also believed to have helped the French embassy in Kabul with the evacuation mission. The second was seen carrying weapons on the street. The other three men are not directly suspected but are believed to have links with the two as well as with the Taliban.
The report of the detentions evoked strong reactions from right-wing French politicians who have opposed the government’s move to provide refuge to Afghan nationals. It is also likely to strengthen “anti-immigrant” sentiment following President Emmanuel Macron’s speech last week warning that Europe needs to protect itself from an “influx of irregular migrants” emerging from the destabilization in Afghanistan.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party, said France’s “duty” to welcome takes a back seat when the security of the French is threatened.
Xavier Bertrand, a candidate for the 2022 presidential election, said the government must explain “what would prevent these individuals from being expelled in absolute urgency.”
“The law must adapt to the needs of our security. Not the opposite,” he said in a tweet.
Since Aug. 15, when Taliban forces ousted the republic government led by President Ashraf Ghani, France has repatriated at least 1,300 Afghan nationals and their families who were employees of the French embassy, non-governmental organizations or the military as well as members of civil society, activists, artists and journalists at risk of persecution by the Taliban. Another 600 such Afghans have been evacuated since May and will be offered a chance to seek asylum.