France relocates embassy, envoy to Kabul airport

Country to deploy military in UAE, continue to issue visas to evacuate French, at-risk Afghans

PARIS (AA) – As the Taliban entered Afghanistan’s city Kabul on Sunday, the French Foreign Ministry announced relocating its embassy and ambassador to the Kabul airport.

Late evening, French Ambassador to Kabul David Martinon posted on Twitter a video clip of himself and members of the staff readying for evacuation in a helicopter.

In a statement, the ministry said it will deploy military reinforcements and air assets to the United Arab Emirates to carry out evacuations from Kabul to Abu Dhabi and onwards to Paris.

The embassy and a crisis and support center will facilitate evacuation of French and at-risk Afghan nationals.

The ministry said it will continue to issue visas from its mission at the airport to the Afghans from the civil society, rights activists, artists and journalists who are threatened for their commitment.

Since May, nearly 600 at-risk Afghan employees from the French mission, institutions and NGOs have been rehabilitated to France. Under this program, more than 1,350 former civilian staff and their families working with the French military have been relocated since 2013.

July onwards, France along with other European countries has also suspended the expulsions of Afghan migrants who failed to secure asylum.

The mission had also organized a special flight on July 16 to evacuate French nationals, yet, several chose to remain in the country.

Victoria Fontan, vice president of the American University of Afghanistan, told BFMTV news from Kabul, that despite the warnings at that time, she and many other foreign nationals decided to stay back to help rehabilitate their Afghan students to the safety of other countries.

She said even though the airport was 20 minutes away, she was unable to board a flight on Sunday as all the roads were blocked while the Taliban knocked at the entrance of the capital city.

Meanwhile, in another statement, the Elysee said President Emmanuel Macron was “monitoring the very worrying deterioration of the situation hour by hour.” He will chair a defense council meeting on the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan on Monday.​​​​​​​


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