France on Tuesday urged all its citizens in Afghanistan to leave the country due to security concerns, the French embassy in Kabul said, as the Taliban continued a blowing offensive while foreign forces completed their withdrawal.
“The government will set up a special flight on the morning of July 17, departing from Kabul, to enable the return of the entire French community to France,” the embassy said in a statement, adding that the flight will be free of charge.
“The French Embassy formally recommends to all French citizens to take this special flight or to leave the country immediately on their own.”
France joins a growing list of countries that have either told their citizens to leave or evacuated them – including in recent days India and China.
The embassy said it would not be able to ensure a safe departure for citizens who choose to stay after July 17.
The Taliban has launched a nationwide offensive since early May, when US-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal, which is now almost complete.
The hardline Islamist group has swept through much of the north, and the government now has little more than a constellation of provincial capitals that largely have to be delivered by air.