French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that French forces would no longer carry out evacuations from Hamid Karzai International Airport (KBL) from August 27, 2021.
The evacuations will take place until the evening of August 26, 2021, before the departure of the French military and embassy services the next day. Around 2,500 people were evacuated by France since the capture of Kabul by the Taliban on August 15, 2021. Most of them were Afghans who contributed to the French mission in the country.
The deadline was imposed by the United States, whose own military presence in Afghanistan will end by the end of the month.
Western forces currently present in the airport fear an attack of the Afghan-Pakistani branch of the Islamic State.
“Every day we’re on the ground is another day we know that ISIS is seeking to target the airport and attack both US and allied forces and innocent civilians,” explained United States President Joe Biden.
Germany has voiced concerns that the schedule set by the US and the Taliban would not allow to fly out all locals who qualify for evacuation.
“I must say already that even if [the operation] goes on until August 31 or even a few days longer, it will not be enough to allow those who we, or the United States, want to fly out,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
On August 25, 2021, Russia began exfiltrating from Kabul some 500 people, including Russian nationals as well as citizens from other member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.