Macron says France will stay in Iraq whatever US decides to do

Filed on August 28, 2021
French President Emmanuel Macron at the Baghdad Conference. — AFP

French President says discussions were underway with the Taliban through Qatar to "protect and repatriate" Afghans at risk

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday France will keep troops in Iraq as part of anti-terrorism operations for as long as the Iraqi government needs, whether or not the United States decides to withdraw.

Macron was speaking at a news conference in Baghdad where several Middle Eastern leaders were attending a summit.

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Asked about evacuations of people from Afghanistan, Macron said there were preliminary discussions with the Taliban about humanitarian issues and who would help those who need protection. He said discussions were underway with the Taliban through Qatar to “protect and repatriate” Afghans at risk.

Evacuations are planned jointly with Qatar and may involve “airlift operations”, Macron said, adding that France had evacuated 2,834 people from Afghanistan since August 17.

France said on Friday its evacuation operation had finished.

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