French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that discussions were underway with the Taliban through Qatar to “protect and repatriate” Afghans at risk since this month’s takeover by the extremist group.
Evacuations are planned jointly with Qatar and may involve “airlift operations,” Macron said at a news conference after a summit in Baghdad.
He added that France, which ended its evacuations from Afghanistan on Friday, had evacuated 2,834 people since August 17.
In order to continue departures, talks have been launched with the Taliban, Macron said.
He said France was counting on help from Qatar – which has good contacts with the Taliban having hosted peace talks – to organize further flights.
While in Baghdad, Macron held separate talks with Qatar’s emir on a possible role for Doha.
Further evacuations from Afghanistan, Macron said, would be “focused,” in order to pull out “men and women whom we have identified and to whom we have given temporary (residency) permits.”
He also said that the “Taliban’s respect for human rights” was a condition of any political engagement for France and its allies.