Evacuated over 550 people, including over 260 Indians from Afghanistan, confirms MEA

New Delhi, August 27: India on Friday said that most civilians who wished to return home from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan as part of “Operation Devi Shakti” have been evacuated and is closely monitoring the current situation in the neighboring country.

So far, 626 people have been brought to India from Afghanistan in 6 different flights, while the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has put the number at 550, of which more than 260 were Indian nationals. India is still trying to operate evacuation flights from Afghanistan to bring back more Indians stranded there.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said that India’s focus has been on the evacuation of its citizens trapped in Afghanistan. Even today, India is monitoring the current situation very carefully as it is an emerging situation.

When asked whether India would recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan, Bagchi said the picture was not clear about the formation of the government in Kabul.

He continued saying that in view of the ground conditions, the main concern for the time being is the safety of the people and their safe return.

Bagchi said that India is still trying to operate evacuation flights from Afghanistan to bring back more Indians stranded there.

On August 22, 390 Indians were brought through three flights via Doha, Tajikistan and Kabul after the intervention of Indian diplomats. Flights from Doha and Tajikistan reached Delhi at midnight with 222 passengers while an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft from Kabul carrying 168 passengers landed at Hindon airbase (Biggest and largest airbase in Aisa, located in Ghaziabad) at 10.30 am, including 107 Indian nationals.

Earlier on August 15, when the Taliban entered Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, on the same day, India sent an Air Force cargo plane C-17 Globemaster to bring its citizens. Two teams were formed to rescue the Indians trapped in different bases of Kabul. There were 46 people in the first team who were brought to India on the morning of 16 August.  

However, the second team consisted of about 150 people, including the Ambassador of India, 99 commandos of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), three women and embassy staff. To bring them, the IAF sent a cargo plane C-17 Globemaster to Kabul on August 16. After an overnight wait, a cargo plane of the IAF could take off from Kabul on the morning of August 17 under tight security of American troops, which landed at Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat at 11.20 am. After this the cargo plane was brought to Hindon airbase around 6 pm. About 150 people were brought to India in this plane, in which Indian Ambassador R. Many embassy employees, including Tandon, security personnel present there and some Indian journalists are involved.

In this way, 46 people have been brought to India on 16 August, 150 people on 17 August, 390 people through three flights on 22 August and 40 people on 25 August in the last flight from Kabul i.e. a total of 626 people have been brought to India in six flights so far.

In contrast, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said that so far more than 550 people have been brought to India from Afghanistan, of which more than 260 were Indians.

He said that some Afghan nationals, including a large number of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, who were ready to come to India in the last flight, could not reach the airport on time, so they could not be brought.

He said that still our main focus is to bring back Indian citizens but we will also stand with the Afghans who stood with us.

Spokesperson Bagchi said that the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has announced an emergency e-visa for a period of six months for Afghans visiting India. People are being brought under this six-month visa system.

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