Macron says France working with other European countries to open Afghanistan mission

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Several European countries are working on opening up a joint diplomatic mission in Afghanistan that would enable their ambassadors to return to the country, France’s president said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters in Doha, Emmanuel Macron said the move would happen as soon as possible, but stressed that they would not be recognizing the Taliban.

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Evacuation mission

Meanwhile, France has carried out an evacuation mission in Afghanistan, taking 258 Afghans as well as 11 French, some 60 Dutch nationals and an unspecified number of people linked to them out of the country, a French foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.

The operation was organized with help from Qatar, a ministry statement said.

Evacuees included Afghans who were at risk such as journalists as well as people with links to France including civilian workers who were employed by the French army. Since Sept. 10, 110 French people and 396 Afghans have been evacuated from Afghanistan on 10 flights organized with the help of Qatar, the statement added.

France and Qatar jointly operated a humanitarian mission on Thursday, delivering medical equipment, food, and winter supplies to international organizations operating in the country with a Qatari military plane, the French foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) this week described an “alarming” socioeconomic outlook for Afghanistan for the next 13 months. Afghanistan is struggling with a sharp drop in international development aid after the Taliban seized power in August, and the UNDP has projected that poverty may become nearly universal by mid-2022.

Read more: French President Macron to hold talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

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