A day after Kabul airport suicide blasts, France on Friday said that it has established an ‘operational contact’ with Taliban to facilitate evacuations from Afghanistan.
French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said that the country will end its evacuation operation in Kabul “soon” but may seek to extend it until after Friday night.
Beaune told French radio station Europe 1 that France was continuing to pursue its operation to “evacuate the maximum number of people.”
However, he said this had been delayed due to Thursday’s attacks near Kabul airport.
Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover.
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The attacks killed at least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops, Afghan and U.S. officials said.
Beaune described the attacks as “absolutely tragic” and said no French victims had been reported.
Before the explosions, French Prime Minister Jean Castex had said that France would end its operation on Friday evening.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday said France had identified “several hundred people,” including French nationals and a majority of Afghans, who were still to be evacuated.