France has placed under surveillance an Afghan evacuated from Kabul suspected of having ties to the Taliban, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Monday.
About 1,300 Afghans have been evacuated by France from a military base in Abu Dhabi in recent days after President Emmanuel Macron said the country was opening up weapons to people threatened by the Taliban.
Four others believed to be close to the prime suspect are also the subject of surveillance by French intelligence, Darmanin told AFP.
“We think he has ties to the Taliban, even though this person helped a lot in the evacuation of the French embassy,” the minister said of the prime suspect.
According to a ministerial document seen by AFP, the man admitted to being a member of the Taliban and said he had worked as the armed chief of a Taliban checkpoint in Kabul.
“Given the significant difficulties in conducting security screenings on the people being repatriated,” the French authorities agreed to take this person and his family on board the evacuation flight, the minister said.
When the man arrived in Abu Dhabi, French intelligence agency DGSI was conducting an investigation and he has now been notified of the guard order, as have the four other evacuees allegedly associated with him, Darmanin said.
Macron promised in a televised speech last week that France would “protect those most at risk in Afghanistan”, while also promising that Europe would put in place a “robust” initiative to thwart illegal migration and, in particular, people smuggling networks.
“We need to anticipate and protect against significant illegal migration flows that would endanger the migrants and put them at risk of all kinds of trafficking in human beings,” he said.
His comments infuriated the French left and activists who claimed he had suggested that France would allow only a limited number of people in and turn a blind eye to many Afghans in need of help.
Migration becomes one of the most controversial battlegrounds as Macron prepares for the 2022 presidential election, which may amount to a duel with the far right.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)