Afghanistan: France talks with Taliban and Qatar for new evacuation operations

“We couldn’t get everyone out and it’s heartbreaking. These words from the head of the British armed forces, General Nick Carter, say all about the tragedy of recent days. The airlift is entering its final phase in Kabul and a majority of countries, including France, have already ended their operations at Hamid-Karzai International Airport. Like an extinguisher placed on the hope of the candidates for exile.

When thousands had gathered for days around the airport, the crowd had disappeared this Saturday, while the threat of new attacks continued to hover after the carnage on Thursday. Only authorized buses were now allowed to move forward, under the (very) strict control of the Taliban.

If the Americans assure that the exfiltrations will take place “until the last moment”, despite the extreme tension, it was the turn of the British to announce that their evacuation operations ended on Saturday. Like Paris, on Friday night, “the security conditions are no longer met”.

Messages of desperation poured in

Messages filled with despair immediately poured in from those who were counting on the last planes to flee, in particular former auxiliaries of the French army who were particularly threatened and still waiting. “According to our estimates, which remain to be refined, around twenty could have been repatriated and a large hundred would still be there,” says Antoine Ory, member of the collective of lawyers of the association of Afghan interpreters and auxiliaries of the ‘French army.

This Saturday, from Iraq, Emmanuel Macron said that the French airlift had allowed the evacuation of 2,824 people, including “more than 2,600 Afghans”. Above all, the president hammered home his desire to continue repatriation after August 31, the date of the final withdrawal of the Americans. With this in mind, discussions have been initiated with the Taliban, confirmed the head of state.

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The president is counting on the help of Qatar which, thanks to its good relations with the Taliban, “has the possibility of arranging airlift operations or reopening of certain airlines”. This “would allow targeted evacuation operations to protect these women and men whom we have identified and to whom we have given provisional titles”, continued the president, who also took advantage of the Baghdad summit for an aside with the Emir of Qatar on this matter. So little hope …

So saying, Emmanuel Macron punctuates his words with “conditional”, multiplies the marks of caution. And warns that it will “inevitably and systematically” go through discussions with the Taliban for the “security” of operations …

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