IAF's special aircraft on standby to evacuate Indians from Kabul: Reports
New Delhi/IBNS: A C-17 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is on standby to fly to Kabul and bring home Indian nationals stuck in the war-torn Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, media reports quoting sources have said.
The IAF aircraft will go to Kabul as soon as enough Indian nationals are able to move to the airport in the Afghan capital, NDTV reported quoting sources.
According to reports, the Indian government is working closely with the US administration to facilitate the movement of the IAF aircraft to Kabul.
The government hopes that up to 250 Indians can be evacuated in this C-17, but it is only possible if they are able to reach the airport safely.
Earlier, 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.
According to reports, an estimated 400 Indians may need to be evacuated, but the exact figure is unclear at the moment.
Two IAF C-17s flew into Kabul on Aug 15 to evacuate Indian embassy personnel, including Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel tasked with guarding them.
The first C-17 aircraft had a harrowing time to take off on Monday as the Taliban entered the high security area which houses the Indian Embassy.
The plane waited in Kabul for a whole day on Monday, and could take off only on Tuesday morning.
On Friday, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) called on the Taliban to allow people being evacuated to leave Afghanistan, and vowed that the allies would remain in "close coordination" while operations continue.
"We call on those in positions of authority in Afghanistan to respect and facilitate their safe and orderly departure, including through Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. As long as evacuation operations continue, we will maintain our close operational coordination through Allied military means at Hamid Karzai International Airport," a statement released by NATO said.
Under the current circumstances, NATO has suspended all support to the Afghan authorities.
"Any future Afghan government must adhere to Afghanistan’s international obligations; safeguard the human rights of all Afghans, particularly women, children, and minorities; uphold the rule of law; allow unhindered humanitarian access; and ensure that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists," the statement added.