French transports sent to Kabul to support mass withdrawal effort

With the ongoing deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, has sent airlift assets from the Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace (AAE, French Air and Space Force) to support evacuation efforts.

Dubbed Operation APAGAN, the mission is being carried out by the Ministère des Armées (Ministry of the Armed Forces) in close coordination with the Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires Étrangères (Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs). The operation aims to evacuate nationals from France and several other countries out of Afghanistan as the security situation in the country continues to deteriorate.

French C-130 in the UAE [French EdA via Twitter]
French C-130 Hercules; A400M Atlas and Airbus A330-243MRTT Phénix aircraft have all assisted in the evacuation efforts in Kabul, Afghanistan. French EdA via Twitter

On August 16, two AAE transport aircraft – a C-130 Hercules and A400M Atlas – loaded with cargo and military personnel departed France for BA 104/Al Dhafra Air Base (AB) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). During the withdrawal efforts, those evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, will arrive at Al Dhafra before boarding AAE-operated Airbus A330-243MRTT Phénix multi-role tanker transports and being flown to France.

In the afternoon of August 17, the first flight – carrying 41 people of French and other nationalities – arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (otherwise known as Roissy Airport), near Paris, France. The French government is “doing everything possible to offer the best reception conditions to evacuees,” the Ministry of the Armed Forces says.

On August 18, a second flight transported more than 200 people to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. The Ministry of the Armed Forces has confirmed that the vast majority of evacuees on this flight were Afghan nationals – most of which were women and children. Additionally, 25 people of French and several other nationalities were onboard this flight.