India on 22 August evacuated 168 people including 107 Indians from Kabul in a military transport aircraft of the IAF amid the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital city following its takeover by the Taliban a week back. Another group of 87 Indians and two Nepalese nationals who were flown in an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft to the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe from Kabul on 21 August, arrived in Delhi on Sunday morning, people familiar with the development said.
They were brought back in a special Air India flight from Dushanbe, they said.
Separately, a group of 135 Indians, who were earlier evacuated from Kabul to Doha in the last few days by the US and NATO aircraft, also returned to India.
It is learnt that the Indians evacuated to Doha from Kabul were employees of a number of foreign companies that were operating in Afghanistan.
“Evacuation continues!IAF special repatriation flight with 168 passengers onboard, including 107 Indian nationals, is on its way to Delhi from Kabul,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
It is learnt that a number of prominent Sikh leaders are on board the flight.
“Bringing Indians home from Afghanistan!AI 1956 carrying 87 Indians departs from Tajikistan for New Delhi. Two Nepalese nationals also evacuated.Assisted and supported by our Embassy @IndEmbDushanbe. More evacuation flights to follow,” Bagchi tweeted at around 1:20 AM.
India evacuated 200 people including the Indian envoy and other staffers of its embassy in Kabul in two C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft of the IAF after the Taliban seized control of Kabul.
The first evacuation flight brought back over 40 people, mostly staffers at the Indian embassy, on Monday.
The second C-17 aircraft evacuated around 150 people including Indian diplomats, officials, security personnel and some stranded Indians from Kabul on Tuesday.
The mission to evacuate close to 200 Indians was accomplished with support from the US.
Following the evacuation, the MEA said the focus now would be to ensure the safe return of all Indian nationals from the Afghan capital.
The MEA said the immediate priority for the government is to obtain accurate information about all Indian nationals currently staying in Afghanistan.
It also requested the Indians as well as their employers to urgently share the relevant details with the special Afghanistan cell.
As per a rough estimate earlier, the number of Indians stranded in Afghanistan could be around 400 and India has been looking at ways to evacuate them including by coordinating with the US and other friendly countries.