As India evacuates Kabul embassy, Air Force flight takes off with over 120 officials

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, August 17, 2021, 10:46 AM IST
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French soldiers stand guard near a military plane at airport in Kabul on August 17, 2021, as they arrive to evacuate French nationals and their Afghan colleagues | Representational image | Photo: AFP

Amid escalating tensions in Afghanistan, India is evacuating its staff and officials from Kabul. On Tuesday monring an Air Force C-17 aircraft took off from the capital city with more than 120 Indian officials in it. According to reports quoting sources, the staff was brought inside the secure areas of the airport safely, late on Monday evening.

As the Taliban take over the reigns of the Afghan government, diplomats and civilians from other nations have been scrambling to leave. Over the last day or so, there have been some rather disturbing visuals - from people stampede-like situations to board flights to people falling off in midair while clinging to the wheels of a plane. Against this backdrop, India has announced that diplomats and staff residing in the Kabul embassy will be shifted back to the country at the earliest.

"In view of the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided that our Ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff will move to India immediately," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Earlier, as the Taliban secured their position in the country, the MEA had announced the setting up of a special Afghanistan Cell to coordinate repatriation and other requests from the country.

Helpline number - +91 9717785379

E-mail - MEAHelpdeskIndia@gmail.com

The evacuations are taking place under a cloak of secrecy, with an abundance of security measures. The last Indian evacuation flight had taken off on August 15, and according to an NDTV report quoting sources, it became a much more difficult prospect from the intervening night of August 15-16. Reportedly, the Embassy was under observation by the Taliban and the high-security Green Zone was breached.

Two Air Force flights evacuated Indian personnel on Monday, with the first batch of officials being stopped by Taliban sentries on their way to the airport. Some of the officials had also reportedly had their personal belongings taken away by the Taliban.

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