France to end Afghan evacuations if US pulls out on Aug. 31

by Sami Burgaz
Paris to end evacuation mission on Aug. 26 if US decides to go ahead with planned withdrawal, official says.

PARIS (AA) – France will end its evacuation mission from Afghanistan later this week if the US decides to go ahead with its planned withdrawal at the end of August, a government official said on Monday.

Speaking to reporters, Nicolas Roche, a senior diplomat, said France will stop the airlift operation by Aug. 26, if the US sticks to a plan to pull its troops out from Afghanistan on Aug. 31.

“So, we have three days left,” Roche said.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian sought “additional time” to organize the evacuation operations.

The UK had made similar requests of extending the schedule for evacuation, which the Taliban leadership declined, saying all foreign troops must leave Afghanistan by the set deadline of August end.

France launched Operation APAGAN to evacuate French and Afghan nationals in distress as well as former employees from Kabul on Aug. 15. More than 2,000 French nationals, Afghans and other nationals have so far been evacuated via a military base in Abu Dhabi.

Le Drian said France had anticipated the security situation and started the evacuation from May to repatriate former Afghan employees. However, ground reports indicate that several of these Afghan employees who worked in the past with the French army were still waiting to be repatriated amidst chaotic conditions in Kabul.


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