Taliban Announces First Meeting With a French Delegation in Doha
The Taliban announces via Twitter that it will hold a meeting with a French delegation in Doha, and that a delegation from the movement discussed the situation at Kabul Airport with the French envoy "in detail."
The spokesman for the Taliban, Suhail Shaheen, announced on Twitter that a French delegation met with representatives of the movement in the Qatari capital yesterday. The two sides have announced a meeting for the first time since it tightened its control over Afghanistan about two weeks ago.
Shaheen said that French envoy, Francois Richier, and his delegation met with a delegation headed by the deputy director of the movement's political bureau, Sher Abbas Stanikzai, and discussed in detail the situation at Kabul airport.
1/3— Suhail Shaheen. محمد سهیل شاهین (@suhailshaheen1) August 27, 2021
IEA delegation headed by Sher M. Abbas Stanikzai, Deputy Director, Political Office, met French envoy François Richier and his delegation in Doha, yesterday. Political issues and ongoing situation of Afghanistan came under discussion.
Emphasizing a promise made by the Taliban to several countries, the movement's spokesman "reiterated that every Afghan with legal documents can travel abroad and that facilities will be provided to all Afghans for traveling after opening the civilian part of the Airport."
"Peace is established all across the country, girls and boys have returned to schools and media is functioning," Shaheen added.
He pointed out that the Taliban is aware of the challenges ahead, and is trying to show moderation in front of people and the international community, but many Afghans, especially intellectuals and urban dwellers, fear that the movement will establish the same extremist regime that ruled the country between 1996 and 2001 under which atrocities took place.
While there was no comment from the French Foreign Ministry, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that the French ambassador will not stay in Afghanistan.
France had announced that it ended its evacuation operations on Friday evening in accordance with the deadline imposed by the US.
Clement Bonn, French Minister of European Affairs, stressed that "the terrorist attack" should not prevent these operations, and that his country will continue evacuations until the last possible second. However, he hinted that not all Afghans trying to leave their country may be able to do so.
France and Germany urged the US to extend the period of evacuation operations from Afghanistan.
"We are concerned about the deadline set by the United States on August 31. Additional time is needed to complete ongoing operations," said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at Al Dhafra airbase in the UAE, where Paris is setting up an air bridge.
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, thousands of Afghans gather daily in front of the gates of Kabul airport, seeking to flee the country.
On Thursday night, two suicide bombings occurred near Kabul airport, causing deaths and injuries. The number of victims rose today to more than 170 people, including Afghans and American soldiers, according to local Afghan media.