New Delhi: An unspecified number of security personnel are among at least five hundred Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan.
An Indian aircraft has been parked at the chaotic Kabul Airport. However, the matter of concern is to bring the Indian mission staff from the embassy to the airport, officials said. The Indian embassy in Kabul and numerous consulates across Afghanistan have been shut following Taliban takeover.
The Taliban who marched into the capital on Sunday have enforced a curfew in Kabul and closed the airspace.
Diplomats on Monday termed the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan as a "setback" for India strategically, and asserted that the priority for New Delhi right now should be to evacuate its citizens from the war-torn nation.
Taliban insurgents swept Kabul after the US-backed Afghan government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday, bringing an unprecedented end to efforts made by the US and its allies to transform the war-ravaged nation in the last two decades.
None of the stranded Indian nationals including Foreign Ministry staff and paramilitary soldiers tasked for their protection have not been evacuated yet from Kabul, sources said.
According to unconfirmed reports there are around 200 Indians in Kabul alone and among them are 100 personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police or ITBP, tasked with protecting the Indian mission in Afghanistan.
According to an India Today report, an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 Globemaster aircraft landed in Kabul around 5 pm on Monday to bring back Indians stranded in the country, including embassy staff.
The report said that the aircraft had to land in Tajikistan on Monday morning due to the chaos at Kabul airport. The aircraft was able to make its way to Kabul once the American forces were able to regain control of the airfield.
US and NATO forces continue to facilitate military evacuations in Kabul, though operations for civilian flights have been halted on Monday.
The Indian contingent in Afghanistan has also been talking to officials on ground to be able to move to the airport and fly back to India, sources said.
India closely monitoring situation in Afghanistan: MEA
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) today said that the government has been closely monitoring all developments in Afghanistan.
India will help members of Afghanistan’s tiny Sikh and Hindu community to come to India, the foreign ministry said on Monday. “We are in constant touch with the representatives of Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities.
"We have been issuing periodic advisories for the safety and security of Indian nationals in that country, including calling for their immediate return to India," MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
He also said that they had circulated emergency contact numbers and had also been extending assistance to community members. "We are aware that there are still some Indian nationals in Afghanistan who wish to return and we are in touch with them," he said.
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