In light of the extremely rapid deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan, the French authorities have decided to relocate our Embassy to Kabul Airport; it remains in operation and is actively proceeding with the evacuation of any of our compatriots still left in the country. The Embassy and the Crisis and Support Center of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs are in touch with all French nationals of whom they are aware in Afghanistan. The methodical evacuation of our citizens has been under way for weeks, and a special flight was specifically chartered on July 16 following numerous calls by the Ministry urging our nationals to leave the country.
France does not forget those who have worked for her. Since May, thanks to early planning and forecasting over recent months, Afghan employees of French entities in Afghanistan who could be in danger have been welcomed by our country, together with their families. More than 600 people have been taken in hand by the Ministry of the Interior, in conjunction with local governments and associations who partner with us. Such operations had in fact been under way since 2013 to welcome local civilians who had worked for our armed forces and their families – more than 1,350 Afghans.
Despite the rapid pace of events, France intends to do its utmost to continue protecting members of Afghan civil society, rights workers, artists and journalists who are in particular danger due to their activities. Everything is currently being done to maintain – to the greatest possible extent – our capacity to issue visas at Kabul Airport, with the help of reinforcements, and enable them to evacuate. France is proving its solidarity with all those who defend freedom.
To coordinate these operations, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has activated a crisis unit.
By order of President Macron, the Ministry for the Armed Forces will, in the coming hours, deploy military reinforcements and aircraft to the United Arab Emirates in order to begin initial evacuations to Abu Dhabi.
France remains in close, constant contact with its European and American partners. It extends its thanks to the Emirati authorities for the facilities they are making available.
I want to thank all the employees of our Embassy in Kabul who are a credit to our country and its values under very difficult circumstances, along with all the teams mobilized by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry for the Armed Forces, and our military.