EAM briefs all parties on the critical situation in Afghanistan; India has evacuated 565 people

By: |
August 26, 2021 5:35 PM

The minister also listed out India’s priorities like the evacuation of Indian nationals, assistance to Afghan nationals, India chairing UNSC Special Session on Afghanistan, comments at UNHCR in Geneva and neighbourhood first.

The Taliban has failed to keep their word which they gave in Doha at the time of finalizing the peace treaty. And, now, India has adopted a "wait and watch" policy, over the situation in Afghanistan. (Representative image AP)The Taliban has failed to keep their word which they gave in Doha at the time of finalizing the peace treaty. And, now, India has adopted a "wait and watch" policy, over the situation in Afghanistan. (Representative image AP)

Amidst the growing violence and uncertainty in Afghanistan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar briefed an all party meeting on the evacuation operations being carried out by India in Afghanistan. The meeting was called by the Centre to discuss the prevailing situation which was extremely critical and the efforts being made to evacuate as many as possible. The minister tweeted that he had briefed the Floor Leaders of all political parties on the situation in Afghanistan, which was attended by 37 leaders from 31 parties.

During the all party briefing at the Parliament House Annexe, Union minister and Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi were present. Also present were the Indian ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon and Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla.

“There is national concern now at developments and we are gathered with a national spirit,” S Jaishankar tweeted.

On Thursday, August 26, another 35 people were evacuated from Afghanistan, however according to reports a group of 140 Afghan Sikhs and Hindu pilgrims who were to arrive in Delhi today have been denied access to Hamid Karzai International Airport by the Taliban. They were part of an annual pilgrimage tour to attend the celebrations organized to commemorate the 400th Birth Anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur.

The Taliban has failed to keep their word which they gave in Doha at the time of finalizing the peace treaty. And, now, India has adopted a “wait and watch” policy, over the situation in Afghanistan.

Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online that during the briefing, external affairs minister S Jaishankar listed pre-emptive measures taken like temporary withdrawal of the India-based personnel from the Indian Consulates in Herat & Jalalabad (April 2020), scaling down of India Embassy (June 2021),Evacuation from Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif (August 10-11), as well issuing of Security Advisories.

The minister also listed out India’s priorities like the evacuation of Indian nationals, assistance to Afghan nationals, India chairing UNSC Special Session on Afghanistan, comments at UNHCR in Geneva and neighbourhood first.

What are the immediate measures taken?

As has been reported earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs has set up a Special Afghanistan Cell on August 16 which is operational 24×7 and is manned by 20 young Indian Foreign Service Officers. The cell helps in coordinating repatriation and other requests from Afghanistan in a streamlined manner. Till date around 3014 calls have been attended; 7826 WhatsApp messages responded to; and 3101 emails answered.

India has also announced an e-Visa system for the Afghan nationals.

So far India has evacuated a total of 565 people. These people have come on special Indian Air Force (IAF) flights as well as commercial flights — Embassy Personnel: 175; Indian Nationals: 263; Afghan Nationals including Hindus and Sikhs: 112; Third Country Nationals: 15. The government has also helped in the evacuation of Indians by other agencies as well.

Challenges faced during these operations

According to sources, there were frequent firing incidents inside Kabul as well as near the airport. There are multiple checkpoints by various groups, over flight clearances from relevant countries, coordination on ground, delays in landing permission, and mostly issues at the airport.

Soon after the fall of the West backed elected government led by Ashraf Ghani collapsed, India started a massive evacuation which was coordinated by the MEA.

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