Macron calls for Kabul 'safe zone'

French President Emmanuel Macron- AFP/Thomas Samson

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SULAIMANI — France and Britain will on Monday (August 30) urge the United Nations to work for the creation of a "safe zone" in the Afghan capital Kabul to protect humanitarian operations, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

"This is very important. This would provide a framework for the United Nations to act in an emergency," Macron said in comments published in the weekly Journal du Dimanche.

Above all such a safe zone would allow the international community "to maintain pressure on the Taliban," who are now in power in Afghanistan, the French leader added.

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.

"This project is completely feasible," he said on a visit to Mosul in Iraq, after vowing to keep troops in the country.

"I am very hopeful that it will be successful, I don't see who could be against making humanitarian projects secure."

His comments come as international efforts to airlift foreign nationals and vulnerable Afghanis out of the country come to an end.

France ended its evacuation efforts on Friday and the United Kingdom followed suit on Saturday.

US troops have been scrambling in dangerous and chaotic conditions to complete a massive evacuation operation from the Kabul airport by an August 31 deadline.

Macron announced on Saturday that discussions had been "started with the Taliban" to "protect and repatriate" Afghan nationals at risk beyond August 31.

Speaking to reporters 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 also took aim at the kind of talk going on in some quarters in France which "stir fears" about the arrival of Afghan refugees in France.

"My role is not to stir up fears among our compatriots, it is to provide solutions to resolve them," he added, assuring that he aims to manage migratory pressures with "humanity, firmness, with an ability to protect our borders as necessary".

(NRT Digital Media/AFP)