India has pulled out around 50 diplomats and security personnel from its consulate in Kandahar in Afghanistan in view of the deteriorating security situation and the Taliban gaining control of new areas around the southern Afghan city, people familiar with the development said on Sunday.
A special aircraft of the Indian Air Force was sent on Saturday to bring back the Indian diplomats, officials and other staff members including a group of Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel, they said.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India-based personnel have been brought back for the time being in view of intense fighting near Kandahar city.
Describing the pull out of the India-based personnel as a temporary measure, he said the consulate continues to operate through the local staff members.
He said India is closely monitoring the evolving security situation in Afghanistan.
He said arrangements are being made to ensure continued delivery of visa and consular services through the Indian embassy in Kabul.
India's move to temporarily bring back its Indian staff came in view of Taliban fighters rapidly seizing control of a number of key areas in the region as well as in western Afghanistan triggering huge security concerns.
India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested nearly USD three billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.
India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
The news of evacuation has Indians concerned. While some are calling it a good move, others are asking what happened to our resolve of supporting peace in Afghanistan.
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