India on Monday said it will take all steps to ensure the safety of its citizens in Afghanistan. Along with this, India also said that it will provide facilities for visiting Sikhs and Hindus who wish to leave the war-torn country. Meanwhile, the future of Afghanistan has been clouded by instability after the Taliban took control of Kabul and all commercial flights from Kabul airport have been suspended.
A day after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, India’s top defense officials, foreign policy establishment and senior intelligence officials on Monday reviewed the rapidly deteriorating situation there. Experts related to this review meeting said that in view of the rapidly deteriorating situation there after the Taliban’s occupation of the Afghan capital, Kabul, the priority of the government is to bring back about 200 Indians trapped in Afghanistan safely. These include Indian Embassy personnel and security personnel.
The Foreign Ministry said that the security situation in Kabul has worsened during the last few days. “Commercial operations at Kabul airport have been suspended today,” the ministry said. This stalled our efforts to bring the people back. We are waiting for the resumption of flights to restart the process.
The Foreign Ministry said, ‘The situation in Afghanistan is being monitored continuously at a high level. The government will take all steps to ensure the security of Indian citizens and their interests in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a heavy-lift transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force had left for Afghanistan late last night and reached there via Iranian airspace. That plane has returned to India from Kabul along with many Indians. People with knowledge of the incident gave this information. Although there is no official confirmation about this flight.
The C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force has been kept ready for the last two days. Officials said there are also security concerns with the Indian embassy and other places in Kabul to bring Indians to the airport in view of the deteriorating security situation. Armed forces of police have been handed over to the contingent and they will be there as long as they are needed.
Earlier on Monday, Air India canceled its scheduled Delhi-Kabul-Delhi flight. Along with this, the company is refraining from operating aircraft coming to India from western countries through Afghanistan’s airspace. Air India took this step after Kabul airport authorities declared an ‘uncontrolled situation’.
Responding to the latest developments in Afghanistan, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “We are in constant touch with representatives of the Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities. We will facilitate the return to India of those who wish to leave Afghanistan.”
The ministry said that there are many Afghans who have been India’s allies in promoting mutual development, educational and people-to-people contact efforts and India will stand by them. Many countries, including India, are surprised by the Taliban taking power in Afghanistan so quickly. “Certainly, we did not expect Kabul to collapse so quickly,” an official said on condition of anonymity.
Officials said India would issue visas to all Afghan nationals who were involved in various development projects and activities. He said India is sending another C-17 aircraft to Afghanistan on Monday as part of its mission to evacuate people.