Afghanistan – Q&A from the press briefing (31 August 2021)


Q. In his conversation with TF1 on Sunday, President Macron laid out three conditions for potentially recognizing the Taliban regime: their respect for humanitarian law, allowing certain Afghans to leave the country; clarity concerning terrorist movements; and their respect for rights, especially women’s rights. Up to now, the French government, and specifically Minister Le Drian, had spoken of five conditions: the three I just mentioned plus the acceptance of humanitarian aid throughout Afghanistan and, especially, the formation of an inclusive government. Can you clarify the French position and tell us if France is still standing by those last two conditions?

A. France’s position is clear. As President Macron and the Minister have repeatedly stressed, we have laid out conditions; we have demanded actions, not words; and we are working with our partners to form the broadest possible international consensus on this issue.

Central to our demands are respect for humanitarian law and the protection of all those who are entitled to be protected by receiving asylum, as well as the freedom to leave Afghanistan for all those who wish to do so; respect for human rights, and in particular, respect for the dignity of Afghan women; and the renunciation of terrorism. Free access to humanitarian aid and the establishment of a transitional government through ongoing negotiations in Doha also figure among our expectations.

Q. What does France expect from today’s virtual meeting of foreign ministers at the invitation of the State Department to discuss the next steps to take in Afghanistan? And what proposals will France make at the Security Council this afternoon?

A. Our common goal is to guarantee the continuation of humanitarian evacuations for all men and women whose work places them at risk and who would still like to leave the country by all possible means, particularly via the swift, secure and safe reopening of the Kabul airport. That is the topic of today’s meetings at the G7 and the UN Security Council, where we will present a resolution in that regard together with the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.