IAF plane departs from Kabul with Afghan leaders, Indian citizens
Fearing that the Taliban militia may prevent the Afghan public representatives from boarding the IAF flight, the entire plan was kept secret till the aircraft took off from Afghanistan, sources said
An Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft on Saturday departed from the Kabul airport with some eminent Afghan leaders, including public representatives from the Hindu and Sikh communities, as well as 85 Indians on board, sources said.
The sources said that the IAF's C-130J transport plane landed in Tajikistan for refuelling and is likely to arrive at the Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad on Saturday evening, they added.
Fearing that the Taliban militia may prevent the Afghan public representatives from boarding the IAF flight, the entire plan was kept secret till the aircraft took off from Afghanistan, the sources further said.
The IAF aircraft was waiting for the clearance at Kabul airport due to the huge rush as many countries have sent their military planes to evacuate its citizens.
"The US authorities have taken full control of the airport and they are managing the air operation from the war torn country. In this huge rush, charting out a slot for an aircraft and also a safe air route for the evacuation flight have become major challenges for the US authority," an informed official said.
This was the second evacuation made by the Indian authorities to bring back stranded citizens and Afghan nationals who wanted to leave the war-torn country after the fall of Kabul to the insurgents on August 15.
The first air rescue operation was made on August 17, when an IAF C-17 aircraft brought back 120 Indians, including Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon, the last batch of the Indian embassy staff and ITBP personnel.
However, the government has been making all efforts to bring back Indians and leaders of the Afghani Sikh and Hindu communitiex who have fear Taliban prosecution.