India has evacuated almost all its citizens from Afghanistan: MEA

New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday informed that India has evacuated almost all its citizens who wish to come back from Afghanistan.

Speaking to media persons in a weekly briefing, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We have evacuated more than 550 people on 6 separate flights, either directly from Kabul or through Dushanbe. Of these, more than 260 were Indian nationals. This does not include Indian embassy personnel who are also being evacuated. Separately, the government has also facilitated the evacuation of Indian nationals through other countries and partners.”

However, evacuation efforts suffered a major blow after bombs went off at the Kabul airport on Thursday killing 85, including 13 from US defence forces involved in securing the airport. ISIS took the responsibility for the deadly attack at the Kabul airport.

US military mission in Afghanistan is ending on August 31. Kabul airport is the only base from where evacuations are taking place, which is under US control. According to the US, the Taliban has consolidated control around Hamid Karzai airport. There are reports that the Taliban has stopped Afghan Sikhs to leave Afghanistan.

“The last flight had 40 odd people. We were hearing reports that Afghan nationals were facing difficulties in reaching the airport. We know some Afghan nationals, including Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, couldn’t reach the airport on Aug 25. Our flight had to come without them,” MEA spokesperson said.

However, India has said that its focus will remain on the security situation of  Indian citizens in Afghanistan and it is in touch with various partners.

India has opened the window of E-visas for the tenure of six months for Afghans. India is also holding discussions on the position of Afghans who are already here for health checkups and studies etc before the Taliban seized power in Kabul.

MEA and security agencies are alarmed by a recent raid on an outsourced agency from where many Afghan passports with Indian visas have been stolen.


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