India deflects question on recognition to Taliban after Afghanistan takeover
The central government on Friday said that currently there was no clarity on the formation of a government in Afghanistan since the Taliban's takeover. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said we are "jumping the gun" on the question of whether India will recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Bagchi said India's efforts are currently focused on evacuating people from the country.
'Security and safety of people primary concern'
On the subject of recognition to the Taliban, Bagchi said during a press briefing Friday, "The situation on the ground is uncertain (in Afghanistan). The primary concern is the security and safety of people." "Currently, there is no clarity about any entity forming a government in Kabul. I think we are jumping the gun regarding recognition," the official added.
Over 550 people evacuated: Bagchi
Further, Bagchi said that India had evacuated more than 550 people via six flights through Kabul or via Dushanbe. Among those evacuated, 260 individuals were Indian nationals, including embassy and other personnel, Bagchi said. The remaining were Afghans and other officials. He said that a vast majority of Indians had already been evacuated from Afghanistan and the others will be brought back soon.
India unaware of number of Indians awaiting evacuation
The MEA spokesperson did not provide a figure for the number of Indian nationals awaiting evacuation in Afghanistan since the number keeps changing as more requests pour in. He assured the Indian government was in touch with various parties to facilitate future evacuations.
Rescued Afghans to be kept on emergency visa
Asked if the rescued Afghan nationals will be accorded "refugee" status, Bagchi said they were being kept on an emergency visa currently (valid for six months). The situation will be reviewed thereafter due to the evolving nature of the situation, he said. On Wednesday, India canceled previously issued visas to Afghans presently not in the country, asking them to apply for electronic visas instead.
India in talks with relevant stakeholders
Bagchi also said that India was in talks with relevant stakeholders on the matter. Regular consultations with Russia were underway through channels addressed in the conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bagchi said India seeks a prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan.
Yesterday, MEA briefed all-party meeting on Afghanistan
On Thursday, MEA Dr. S Jaishankar had briefed an all-party meeting on the Afghanistan situation. During the meeting, Jaishankar said India had adopted a "wait and watch" policy toward the chaos in Afghanistan. The Ministry has said that it is waiting to see if the Taliban alone forms the government in Afghanistan or if the group negotiates a power-sharing arrangement with other Afghan leaders.
What's happening in Afghanistan?
After the US withdrew its troops from Afghanistan to end its two-decade-long 'War on Terror' in Afghanistan, the Taliban advanced quickly and captured key provincial capitals. On August 15, the group stormed the Presidential Palace in Kabul while President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. The Taliban has since been attempting to install a formal government in Afghanistan.