Afghanistan crisis: India evacuates staff from embassy in Kabul
India will immediately evacuate its ambassador to Afghanistan, Rudrendra Tandon, and other embassy staff members, an official spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said this morning. The decision comes in the wake of the Afghan government's collapse and the Taliban takeover of that country. India says it continues to closely monitor the volatile situation there.
'Indian staff will move to India immediately'
"In view of the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided that our Ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff will move to India immediately," Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson, tweeted.
Indian Air Force aircraft bringing 120 Indians home
In fact, an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft, carrying the Indian ambassador and other personnel, left from Kabul for India earlier today as part of the evacuations. An IAF C-17 aircraft took off from the Kabul international airport with more than 120 Indians on board. "The staff was brought inside the secure areas of the airport safely, late last evening," Mint reported citing sources.
Yesterday, around 45 Indians were brought back
The said flight will land at Hindon Airport, near Delhi, sources told News18. It is notably the second operation to bring back Indians since the Afghan government's fall. On Monday night, another IAF aircraft landed in Delhi with some 45 Indians, including staffers, reports said.
Jaishankar speaks with US's Antony Blinken about the situation
India has shared the following phone number and email address to coordinate the repatriation procedure: +919717785379 and MEAHelpdeskIndia@gmail.com. Foreign Minister Dr. S Jaishankar said in a late-night tweet that he had spoken with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the situation in Afghanistan. "Monitoring the situation in Kabul continuously. Understand the anxiety of those seeking to return to India," he tweeted.
India launches new visa category to fast-track applications
Separately, the Indian government has launched a new category of electronic visa to fast-track applications from Afghans who want to leave the country. The fresh visa category is named "e-Emergency X-Misc Visa." Hindus and Sikhs living in Afghanistan will be given priority, according to officials.
Several people were killed amid chaos at Kabul airport
On Monday, chaotic scenes played out at the Kabul airport as thousands rushed there to try and catch international flights. At least five were killed, either in stampede or firing by soldiers, while two others fell to their death from a US military plane, reports say. The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on Sunday even as President Ashraf Ghani fled.