President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that France was holding preliminary talks with the Taliban on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and the possible evacuation of more people from the country.
Macron, who spoke in Baghdad where he was attending a summit with several Middle East leaders, said France was also discussing with Qatar how it could re-establish a route for Afghan evacuations, although nothing was not yet certain.
“We have started to have discussions, which are very fragile and preliminary, with the Taliban on the issue of humanitarian operations and the ability to protect and repatriate Afghans in danger,” Macron said at a press conference.
Iraqi President Barham Salih and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a press conference ahead of the Baghdad summit in the Green Zone of Baghdad, Iraq on August 28, 2021.
US military forces, which have guarded Kabul airport, are due to withdraw by Tuesday at the deadline set by President Joe Biden. L1N2PZ02Y
The French government said on Friday it had completed its Kabul evacuation operation on schedule, but would continue to help those in need of protection leave Afghanistan.
Macron also said France will keep troops in Iraq as part of counterterrorism operations for as long as the Iraqi government needs them to stay, whether or not the United States decides to withdraw.
“Whatever the Americans decide, we will maintain our presence to fight terrorism in Iraq,” he said.
Reporting by Manuel Ausloos Writing by Sarah White Editing by Andrew Heavens and Helen Popper
Source: France 24