France to begin Afghanistan evacuations on Monday
France said it will evacuate its first nationals and Afghan colleagues from the fallen Afghan capital Kabul to a base in the United Arab Emirates on Monday.
"We are planning to carry out the first rotation between now and the end of this Monday," defence minister Florence Parly said, adding there were several dozen French citizens to be evacuated.
"We have organised at the base we have in the United Arab Emirates the capabilities to receive the first evacuees," Parly said.
These are for French nationals who remain in Kabul but also "people under our protection and who we are going to evacuate", Parly said.
The French base in the UAE "will serve as a military hub to ensure the back and forth between Abu Dhabi and Kabul and then repatriation in France", Parly added.
Diplomatic personnel are included among the dozens of people set to be evacuated, she added.
The priority is to "evacuate (Afghan) personnel who rendered eminent service to our country by helping us daily, and also doing the maximum to provide protection to figures who defended the rights, human rights, journalists, artists, all those who stood for these values that we continue to defend around the world," she said.
The military operation dubbed Apagan involves two French air force transport planes, a C-130 and A400M, which left France late Sunday and early Monday for the Emirates.