Afghanistan Crisis: Exclusive – How India Evacuated Its Embassy, Which Was Under Taliban’s Observation

The Indian Air Force C-17 that left Kabul landed in Gujarat’s Jamnagar today

New Delhi:

Two Indian Air Force C-17 transports flew into Kabul on August 15 to evacuate Indian embassy personnel, including Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel who defend the mission, sources have said. Details of the challenging and difficult circumstances under which the Indian mission staff were evacuated have now emerged.

The security situation in the intervening night of August 15-16 deteriorated sharply and no evacuations became possible then, sources said. The Indian embassy was reportedly also under observation by the Taliban, and the high-security Green Zone – the heavily fortified district that houses most embassies and international organisations – was breached.

The Taliban raided the Shahir Visa Agency, which processes visas for Afghans looking to travel to India, sources said.

The first batch of 45 Indian personnel who were evacuated on the first IAF aircraft yesterday were initially stopped by Taliban sentries on their way to the airport, they said.

The personal belongings of a few Indian staff members were taken away by the Taliban as they proceeded to the airport, sources have said.

Chaos unfolded at Kabul airport yesterday when thousands came there hoping to catch a flight out

The first Indian transport aircraft that left Kabul yesterday took off under very challenging circumstances given the chaos at Kabul airport where thousands of desperate Afghans had arrived in the hope of flying out of the country.

The remaining members of the Indian diplomatic and security contingent were unable to evacuate yesterday since the route to the airport was closed and there were mobs at the airport.

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An overnight conversation between the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar may have helped in moving the Indian personnel to Kabul airport this morning.

All the remaining Indian mission members – over 120 of them – including Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon, boarded the second IAF C-17 and safely left Afghan airspace this morning and landed in Gujarat’s Jamnagar.

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