Afghanistan: IAF evacuates 168 from Kabul; flight reaches Delhi
Amid a chaotic situation in Afghanistan, India evacuated 168 individuals from Kabul via a special repatriation flight. The Indian Air Force flight—carrying 107 Indians—has landed at the Hindon IAF base in Ghaziabad near Delhi. Two other repatriation flights reached Delhi early Sunday morning. The situation in Afghanistan has been turbulent since last Sunday when the Taliban overthrew the government and took charge.
India allowed to run 2 flights from Kabul daily
India has reportedly been allowed to operate two flights per day from Kabul to evacuate its nationals. The permission was granted by the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, who are currently managing Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has been sharing visuals from India's evacuation efforts on social media.
You can view the visuals here
Evacuation continues!— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) August 22, 2021
IAF special repatriation flight with 168 passengers onboard, including 107 Indian nationals, is on its way to Delhi from Kabul. pic.twitter.com/ysACxClVdX
2 other flights reached Delhi earlier today
Earlier Sunday, Air India and IndiGo operated two flights evacuating people from Kabul, one reaching from Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe and the other from Qatar's Doha. Bagchi had also shared a short video where the evacuees could be seen chanting "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" (which translates to "victory to Mother India"). Reportedly, all evacuees will undergo RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 once they land in India.
Indians awaiting evacuation were reportedly kidnapped by Taliban earlier
Earlier, Indians awaiting evacuation in Kabul were taken to a police station for questioning as some reports had claimed that they had been abducted by the Taliban. Reportedly, their travel documents were checked before they were let go. The Taliban has denied "kidnapping" allegations.
Estimated 1,000 Indians remain in Afghanistan
India has shut all its embassies in Afghanistan and brought back most of its staffers and security personnel. However, an estimated 1,000 Indian citizens reportedly remain in multiple cities across Afghanistan. Earlier this week, MEA Dr. S Jaishankar had said that India is monitoring the situation in Afghanistan "very carefully," adding that the government is currently focused on the safe evacuation of its citizens.
What's happening in Afghanistan?
On Sunday, the Taliban captured the capital Kabul after taking over several key cities in a matter of days. The Taliban's military victory came after the United States withdrew troops from the country to end its two-decade-long 'War on Terror'. Thousands of Afghans have since been trying to flee the country. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also fled the country last Sunday.