France calls on its citizens in Afghanistan to leave over security

By: AFP      Published: 07:46 PM, 13 Jul, 2021
France calls on its citizens in Afghanistan to leave over security

France on Tuesday called on all its citizens in Afghanistan to leave the country over security concerns, the French embassy in Kabul said, as the Taliban pressed on with a blistering offensive while foreign forces completed their withdrawal.

"The government will set up a special flight on the morning of July 17th, departing from Kabul, in order to allow the return to France of the entire French community," the embassy said in a statement, adding the flight will be free of cost.

"The Embassy of France formally recommends to all French citizens to take this special flight or to leave the country immediately by their own means."

France joins a growing list of countries that have either told their citizens to leave, or evacuated them -- including in recent days India and China.

The embassy said it will not be in a position to ensure the safe departure of citizens choosing to stay beyond July 17.

The Taliban have launched an offensive across the country since early May, when US-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal, which is now almost complete.

The hardline Islamist group has swept through much of the north, and the government now holds little more than a constellation of provincial capitals that must largely be resupplied by air.