Afghan crisis: India brings back its envoy, officials from Kabul

The C-17 heavy-lift aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) landed at Jamnagar in Gujarat at around 11:15 am en route to the Hindon airbase near the national capital

Afghan crisis: India brings back its envoy, officials from Kabul
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PTI

India on Tuesday brought back home the Indian ambassador and its staff at the embassy in Kabul in a military transport aircraft in view of the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital, two days after its take over by the Taliban.

The C-17 heavy-lift aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) landed at Jamnagar in Gujarat at around 11:15 am en route to the Hindon airbase near the national capital.

Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon told mediapersons in Jamnagar that the situation in Kabul is complex and "quite fluid" now and that Indians stuck in the city will be brought back home when the commercial flight services resume.

"Happy to be back home safely and securely. We are a very large mission. We are a mission of 192 personnel who were evacuated from Afghanistan literally within a period of three days in a very orderly fashion in two phases," he said.

Tandon, who assumed charge as Indian ambassador in Afghanistan in August last year, said the embassy provided assistance and even shelter to many distressed Indians following the fast-changing situation in Kabul.

"We are continuously monitoring the situation because there are still some Indian citizens who are there. That is why Air India will continue to run its commercial services to Kabul," he said.

"Your welcome has an impact on all of us. Thank you to the Indian Air Force who flew us out under conditions that are not normal," Tandon, said, adding continuing to work for the welfare of the Afghan people is very much on India's mind.

In the morning, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said it was decided that the ambassador and his Indian staff will move to India immediately considering the circumstances in Kabul.

"In view of the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided that our Ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff will move to India immediately," Bagchi tweeted.

The transport aircraft of the IAF took off for India from the Kabul airport at around 8 am with over 120 people including officials and security personnel from the embassy. Some Indian nationals were also learnt to have returned.


It is the second evacuation flight. On Monday, another C-17 aircraft had evacuated around 40 people including a number of Indian embassy staff from Kabul before the operations at the airport in the city were suspended.

The two military aircraft flew into Kabul using the Iranian airspace while avoiding the route through the Pakistani airspace, the people cited above said.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is in New York on a four-day visit, spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan.

"Discussed latest developments in Afghanistan with @SecBlinken. Underlined the urgency of restoring airport operations in Kabul. Deeply appreciate the American efforts underway in this regard," he tweeted at around 3 am.

It is learnt that Jaishankar was also involved in hectic discussions including with US officials on the evacuation of the Indian officials from Kabul.

The US military had taken control of the security at the airport on Monday after thousands of desperate people converged there in the hope of getting on an evacuation flight and leave the country.

Hours after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday, the Taliban took control of Kabul, capturing power nearly 20 years after a US-led military invasion ousted it in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

In a series of tweets, Jaishankar also said that India is monitoring the situation in Kabul continuously.

"Monitoring the situation in Kabul continuously. Understand the anxiety of those seeking to return to India. Airport operations are the main challenge. Discussions on with partners in that regard," he tweeted.

"Significant UN Security Council discussions today on developments in Afghanistan. Expressed the concerns of the international community. Expect to discuss these during my engagements at the UN," he added.

In another tweet, he said the government is in constant touch with the Sikh and Hindu community leaders in Kabul, adding their welfare will get its priority attention.

"Given the Kabul situation, important we have accurate information about Indians there. Urge that this be provided by all concerned to the MEA Special Afghanistan Cell," he said.

The contact details of the Cell are phone number: +919717785379, Email: MEAHelpdeskIndia@gmail.com, Jaishankar said.

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