New Delhi: Foreign missions near Afghanistan have been activated by the Narendra Modi government to speed up the evacuation of stranded Afghan nationals and Indian citizens, including Hindus and Sikhs. According to government officials, Indian authorities are coordinating with the Indian embassies in Tajikistan and Qatar to facilitate the evacuation of Indian and Afghan nationals from those countries and are asking them to provide all necessary assistance, such as transportation and accommodation.
In addition, the Indian authorities have been faced with a major challenge since many Indian workers are located in Afghanistan, and the threat of militants attacking the convoy by land routes poses a major challenge since they are to be taken to Indian embassies such as Doha.
In the meantime, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in Delhi has set up a ‘Afghanistan Special Cell’ which is working around the clock to answer queries from those who have requested the MEA to come to India. According to the official, more than 1,650 Indians have so far requested information from this cell, and they have answered more than 2,000 calls, 600 WhatsApp messages and 1200 e-mails.
Additionally, they confirmed that 526 people had arrived at Delhi as of Sunday evening, apart from the 168 who had arrived at the Hindan air base on Sunday morning, including two Afghan MPs Anarkali Kaur and Narendra Singh Khalsa as well as some Afghan politicians. Because of fears that the Taliban militia might prevent the Afghan public representatives from taking the IAF flight, the entire plan was kept secret until the flight left Afghanistan, the sources said.
‘The US authorities are managing the air operations from the war-torn country. Charting out a slot for an aircraft and also drawing up a safe flight plan are major challenges,’ a US official explained over the delay of the military aircraft from Kabul airport.
Commercial flights have been banned from Kabul’s airport and only military aircraft can land and take off. In the midst of the crisis in Afghanistan, the first air rescue operation was conducted on August 17 when an IAF C-17 aircraft brought 120 Indians, including Indian Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon and the final batch of Indian embassy staff, to Jamnagar.