Over 550 people, including over 260 Indians, evacuated from Afghanistan: Govt
More than 550 people have so far been evacuated from Afghanistan via six flights following the Taliban’s takeover of the country, the Indian government said on Friday. Of the 550, over 260 are Indians, the government also said.
“We have evacuated over 550 people in 6 separate flights, either from Kabul or Dushanbe. Of these, over 260 were Indians. GoI also facilitated evacuation of Indian nationals through other agencies. We were in touch with various countries, like [the] US,Tajikistan,” said Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs (MEA), news agency ANI reported.
Further, the ministry said that the “vast majority” of Indians who wanted to return from Afghanistan have been evacuated out of the country. However, Bagchi said that he did not have the exact count of people who wanted to remain in the country. “Our overall assessment is that the vast majority of Indians who wish to return have been evacuated. Some more are likely to be in Afghanistan. I do not have the exact number for that,” he said.
Briefing more on the operations, Bagchi said that the last flight from Afghanistan had close to 40 people in it and also said that some Afghan citizens, including Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, faced difficulties in reaching the Kabul airport on August 25 and so the flight had returned without them.
The primary focus of the government would be on evacuating Indian nationals who are stranded in Afghanistan, he said, adding that the government would also “stand by” Afghan nationals. “We were able to bring out some Afghan nationals as well as nationals from other countries. Of these, many of them were Sikhs and Hindus. Primarily, our focus will be on Indian nationals, but we'll also stand by Afghans who stood by us,” he said.
While the ministry said that there was no clarity regarding the formation of the government in Kabul currently, it also assured that the government is monitoring the situation in Kabul “very carefully.”
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom earlier on Friday said that the country’s evacuation operation at the Kabul airport was in its “final hours” and also closed processing centres near the airport for further clearance. Few other European nations such as Spain, Italy and France have also announced their plans to end operations on Friday while the US has said that it will not extend its presence on the Afghan soil after August 31.