India allowed to operate two flights daily to evacuate citizens from Kabul; Jaishankar contacts German counterpart


NEW DELHI: India has been permitted to operate two flights per day from Kabul to evacuate its citizens stranded in Afghanistan, government sources told ANI.

Permission has been granted by US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces controlling Hamid Karzai International Airport operations after the Afghan capital fell into the hands of the Taliban on August 15.

Government sources told ANI that two Indian aircraft will be allowed to operate from the Kabul airport which is under the control of US security forces.

A total of 25 flights are being operated by them, as they are currently focused on evacuating their civilians, weapons and equipment.

More than 300 Indian citizens are to be evacuated from Kabul which is now under Taliban control. India is airlifting its citizens through Dushanbe in Tajikistan and Qatar.

An Air India flight with around 90 passengers is expected to land in India shortly. The Indian passengers were apparently evacuated from Kabul in a C130J aircraft.

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval had allowed India’s first aircraft to operate from Kabul after talks with his American counterpart Jake Sullivan to facilitate the movement of Indian officials inside the US security zone at the airport.

Read also | ‘We hope they mean what they say’: PM Boris Johnson says UK will work with Taliban if necessary

The Indian Air Force has already evacuated around 180 passengers including its ambassador to Afghanistan and all other diplomats.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and directed all concerned officials to take all necessary measures to ensure the safe evacuation of Indian nationals from Afghanistan in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs has said that the government is committed to the safe return of all Indian nationals from Afghanistan. The MEA said that the main challenge for travel to and from Afghanistan is the operational status of the Kabul airport.

The Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday and captured the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Government of India is keeping a close watch on all developments in Afghanistan.

A group of Indian nationals is learned to have been taken to an undisclosed location near Kabul airport on Saturday for verification and questioning of travel documents, causing some confusion and anxiety in India.

These Indians were later released.

People tracking the developments in Kabul said that so far no specific report of any kind of damage to Indians in Kabul has been received.

According to Afghan media reports, the Indians were among 150 people who were on their way to the Kabul airport when they were stopped by Taliban fighters.

The Kabul Now news portal initially reported that the group was “kidnapped” by Taliban fighters, but it later updated the report to say that all the people had been released and were on their way back to Kabul airport.

The people cited above said that Indians were taken for questioning and this is not unusual in the current circumstances.

There was no immediate official comment or reaction on the matter.

Meanwhile, India on Saturday evacuated around 80 Indian nationals from Kabul by a transport military aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

He said the plane landed at Dushanbe in Tajikistan after evacuating Indians from Kabul, it is expected to reach Hindon airbase near Delhi by evening.

India has already evacuated 200 people, including the ambassador and other staff of its embassy in Kabul, in two C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft of the IAF after the Taliban captured Kabul on Sunday.

The first evacuation flight on Monday brought back over 40 people, mostly employees of the Indian embassy.

The second C-17 aircraft on Tuesday evacuated around 150 people, including Indian diplomats, officials, security personnel and some stranded Indians, from Kabul.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday spoke to his German counterpart Heiko Maas on the latest developments in Afghanistan and challenges related to emergency evacuation from Kabul.

Jaishankar tweeted, “Appreciated the call by the German Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas. Discussed the evacuation challenges in Afghanistan and the policy implications of the changes there.”

India is in touch with the US, the UK and several other major powers on the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan after Kabul fell into the hands of the Taliban on Sunday evening.

Several countries, including India, are facing difficulties in evacuating people from Kabul in the wake of the chaos around the airport in the Afghan capital following the Taliban takeover.

India on Saturday evacuated around 80 Indian nationals from Kabul by a transport military aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

Read also | Taliban bans co-education in Afghanistan’s Herat province: report

After evacuating the Indians from Kabul, the plane landed in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Till Tuesday, India had evacuated 200 people, including the Indian envoy and other staff of its embassy in Kabul, in two C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

The first evacuation flight on Monday brought back over 40 people, mostly employees of the Indian embassy.

The second C-17 aircraft on Tuesday evacuated around 150 people, including Indian diplomats, officials, security personnel and some stranded Indians, from Kabul.

Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karzai meet Taliban’s acting Kabul governor, US ally Afghan forces are being hunted down

Abdullah Abdullah, a senior leader of the deposed Afghan government, and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with Kabul’s “so-called” caretaker Taliban governor Abdul Rahman Mansour on Saturday. They discussed the priority of protecting the life, property and honor of the citizens of Kabul.

Abdullah told the Taliban’s acting Kabul governor that “for normalcy to return to the capital, Kabul, it is imperative that citizens … feel safe and secure,” according to a statement from Abdullah Abdullah’s office.

Abdullah’s office said the acting governor promised to “make every effort to protect the people of Kabul”.

Afghanistan is facing its worst crisis in decades as Taliban control forced people to flee the country for fear of their atrocities. The country has been battling violence for several years and the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul has added to the crisis.

Afghans have gathered at Kabul airport to escape the Taliban. Terrorists are allegedly using force to block people from entering the airport on the streets of Kabul.

There have been many reports of Taliban violence in recent days. This comes despite claims by the Taliban that they have made reforms and vowed to respect the rights of women and minorities.

A media report said that the Taliban is trying to convince the world that they will break ties with terrorist groups like al-Qaeda after coming back to power in Afghanistan after 20 years, and they need the world’s recognition and approval. needed.

Read also | IAF flight evacuates over 85 Indians from Kabul amid Taliban crisis

The Taliban’s long history with terror groups and their family-based ties with terrorists from other groups has raised serious questions about the Taliban’s commitment during the Doha Agreement that they will not give safe haven to any terrorist in Afghanistan.

While thousands of members of the Afghan security force have managed to flee Afghanistan to other countries such as Iran and Uzbekistan as the Taliban have taken over the country, tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers and commandos are still fleeing and hunted by the terrorist group. He is going.

Matthew Rosenberg in The New York Times wrote that over the past few weeks columns of Afghan soldiers in armored vehicles and pickup trucks moved through the desert to reach Iran, and military pilots made fewer and faster attempts to protect the mountains of Uzbekistan. Flew.

“Others managed to surrender and went back to their homes — and some laid down their weapons and joined the winning side,” he continued in the NYT.

Thousands of other Afghan soldiers, commandos and spies are left behind. They are now on the run, in hiding and being hunted by the Taliban, he wrote.

“There is no way out,” the media outlet quoted Farid, an Afghan commando, as saying. He said he was hiding in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, trapped after regular units of the army surrendered around him. “I’m praying to be saved.”

Reports said the Taliban are looking for people they believe worked and fought alongside United States and NATO forces.

The New York Times reported that there was no data on how many Afghan soldiers and security officials were fleeing. Dozens of Afghan pilots fled to Uzbekistan, where 22 planes and 24 helicopters arrived on Sunday carrying some 600 people, according to Uzbek officials; An unknown number made it to Iran, former Afghan officials said.

Read also | Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in talks to form government in Kabul: Officials

Tolo News, citing the families of the missing officers, reported that several former government officials have gone missing in the country, including a provincial governor and police personnel.

Conversely, a Taliban spokesman reported that the group had pardoned those who had worked in the military or civilian sector with the previous government.

Efforts are being made to maintain stability in Afghanistan. However, people are rushing towards the airport to flee the country as they fear the brutal atrocities of the terrorist group in the country.

Countries around the world are increasingly evacuating their citizens as the future of Afghanistan hangs in the balance. The US State Department said on Thursday that it has airlifted more than 7,000 people since Saturday.

Taliban leaders are discussing future government plans in Afghanistan and are in contact with intra-Afghan parties.

(with PTI inputs)

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