France evacuates more than 300 people from Afghanistan


FILE PHOTO: Taliban soldiers stand in front of a sign at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 9, 2021. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) -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 organised 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 organised 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 organisations operating in the country with a Qatari military plane, the French foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

The United Nations Development Programme (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.

(Reporting by Mimosa Spencer; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Will Dunham)

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