France cannot continue evacuations from Afghanistan last Friday, says Prime Minister Castex

France will no longer be able to evacuate people from Afghanistan after Friday night, French Prime Minister Jean Castex told RTL radio.

“Starting tomorrow night, we will no longer be able to continue evacuations from the Kabul airport,” the French prime minister said, citing the imminent withdrawal of US troops that control and secure the airport, set for August 31.

The United States and its allies urged people to move away from the Kabul airport on Thursday due to the threat of a terror attack by Islamic State militants, as Western troops rush to evacuate as many people as possible sooner. of the deadline of next Tuesday.

Castex’s comments came as Britain warned of an imminent risk of an attack at the airport, while the Netherlands also said it was halting evacuation flights.

New warnings emerged overnight from western capitals about a possible threat from the affiliate of the Islamic State of Afghanistan group, which has likely seen its ranks reinforced by the Taliban releasing prisoners across the country.

Military cargo planes departing from Kabul airport fired flares to disrupt any possible surface-to-air missile fire as fleeing Afghan troops dumped heavy weapons and equipment across the country as their ranks collapsed.

Aside from a missile attack, troops have also been concerned about the uncontrolled and packed crowd outside the airport. There is no formal inspection process on the way to the airport as there was during the previous Afghan government. That means someone carrying a suicide bomb could pass, or a vehicle loaded with explosives could pass through the crowd.

The pressure to complete the evacuations of thousands of foreigners and Afghans who assisted Western countries during the 20-year war against the Taliban has intensified, and all US and allied troops must leave the airport on August 31.

Castex said that some 2,500 people had been evacuated by France since the Taliban’s capture of Kabul on August 15. The operation has seen evacuees flown to a French base in the United Arab Emirates on military planes and then to France.

He said this number includes French citizens, but also “Afghans who have contributed, in one way or another, in their support of the (French) army, as well as their families, artists and journalists.”

( Jowharwith REUTERS, AP, AFP)

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