Committed to safe return of all nationals, visa services extended for Afghans: India
New Delhi/IBNS: Even as diplomats and other officials of the Indian Embassy in Kabul returned here, the government on Tuesday said it is committed to the safe return of all Indians in Afghanistan and is also extending visa services to Afghan nationals.
The Ministry of External Affairs said it has already received requests from Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leaders and is in touch with them.
"As regards Afghan nationals, our visa services will continue through an e-Emergency visa facility, which has been extended to Afghan nationals. We have already received requests from Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leaders, and are in touch with them," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
India said the main challenge for travel to and from Afghanistan is the operational status of Kabul airport, where commercial operations were suspended on Monday.
"The main challenge for travel to and from Afghanistan is the operational status of Kabul airport. This has been discussed at high levels with our partners, including by EAM with the US Secretary of State," the MEA statement claimed.
"Government of India is committed to the safe return of all Indian nationals and will institute flight arrangements once Kabul airport is open for commercial operations," it added.
Earlier in the evening, an Indian Air Force plane evacuated Indian Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon as well as other staff of the Indian Embassy in Kabul and landed in Delhi.
The C-17 Globemaster had taken off from Kabul on Tuesday morning with the evacuees, including ITBP personnel deployed for the protection of the embassy there.
Another C-17 aircraft of IAF with some evacuees had landed in Delhi on Monday morning. However, as the Taliban entered the high security area which houses the Indian Embassy, evacuation was slowed down on Monday.
Movement of the Indian Ambassador and the Embassy staff from Kabul to India was a difficult and complicated exercise. Thank all those whose cooperation and facilitation made it possible.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 17, 2021
The plane waited in Kabul for a whole day on Monday, and could take off only on Tuesday morning.
In view of the prevailing situation in Kabul, the Indian government decided that its Embassy personnel would be immediately moved to India.
"This movement has been completed in two phases and the Ambassador and all other India-based personnel have reached New Delhi this afternoon," the MEA said in a statement.
"We have been issuing periodic travel and security advisories for all Indian nationals in Afghanistan, given the deteriorating security situation there. Those already in Afghanistan were urged to return immediately while others were advised not to travel there," it said.
"Nevertheless, we understand that a number of Indians are stranded in that country, some of whom are employed by third country organizations. Our immediate priority is to obtain accurate information about all Indian nationals currently in Afghanistan. They and / or their employers are requested to urgently share the relevant details with MEA’s Special Afghanistan Cell," it added.
After days of fighting with the security forces and capturing territories, Taliban entered Kabul city on Sunday and took control over the Presidential Palace.
President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the insurgents entered the country.