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French President Emmanuel Macron will ask the United Nations to create a “safe zone” in Kabul to allow for the continued evacuation of westerners and at-risk Afghans. A safe zone “would provide a framework for the United Nations to act in an emergency,” Macron said in comments published in the weekly Journal du Dimanche.
It would also allow the international community “to maintain pressure on the Taliban,” Macron wrote.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council – France, Britain, the US, Russia and China – will meet on Monday to discuss the Afghanistan situation.
Paris and London will take the opportunity to present a draft resolution which “aims to define, under UN control, a ‘safe zone’ in Kabul, that will allow humanitarian operations to continue,” Macron said.
His comments come as international efforts to airlift foreign nationals and vulnerable Afghanis out of the country comes to an end.
Both France and Great Britain ended their evacuation efforts on Friday with an unknown number of their nationals stuck in Taliban-controlled Kabul. A safe zone would allow for non-military flights to get them out.
Right now, it’s unclear how much control the Taliban have of the country. Also, dealing with a factionalized leadership that includes the Afghanistan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups, it might be impossible for any one political entity to guarantee the formation of a “safe zone” to protect outsiders.
Speaking to reports in Iraq, where he was attending a meeting of key regional leaders, Macron added that with help from Qatar, which maintains good relations with the Taliban, there was a possibility of further airlift operations.
He added that France had evacuated 2,834 people from Afghanistan since August 17.
In the article published by the French Sunday newspaper, Macron said he envisaged targeted evacuations in future “which would not be carried out at the military airport in Kabul” but perhaps via civil airports in the Afghan capital or from neighbouring countries.
Joe Biden has now made the Taliban — a radical, violent fundamentalist Islamic organization — a partner with the United States in facilitating the safe exit for tens of thousands of people from Kabul. It’s still unknown how many Americans the president is leaving behind.
NROs Jim Geraghty highlights some of the dangers for these Americans.
“My green card guy is still hiding,” my reader laments. “[The U.S. embassy in Kabul] has not bothered to send him a single message. I have confirmed his evacuation request has all the correct contact information.”
One of the Afghans has told my reader that he can no longer speak to him on the phone or text him in English, because the Taliban are taking people’s phones and searching through them for English language messages. Afghans are now afraid to speak English, because the Taliban presumes that anyone overheard speaking or writing in English worked with the Americans or the coalition.
This does not sound promising for the prospect of future generosity from the Taliban.
The Taliban have made it clear many times that they will not allow a foreign military presence in Afghanistan after August 31 so it’s unclear who is going to provide security for this “safe zone.” It appears we’re going to have to depend on the Taliban for that.