IAF carries out a complicated evacuation from Kabul – “All eyes on Taliban,” says expert

By: |
August 17, 2021 5:39 PM

According to the official spokesperson’s early morning tweet, Arindam Bagchi said: “Due to the prevailing circumstances, a decision has been taken that India’s ambassador and his Indian staff will move to India immediately.”

The C-17 had to take a different route to come to India, because being a military aircraft it could fly over Afghanistan due to security reasons.

On Tuesday (August 17, 2021), Indian Air Force carried out a very complicated evacuation from Kabul, Afghanistan. With 148 Indians mostly diplomats and staff and ITBP personnel, C-17 transport aircraft landed at the Jamnagar Air Force Base before coming to the Hindan Air Force base, in Delhi NCR.

MEA announces closing the Indian Mission

According to the official spokesperson’s early morning tweet, Arindam Bagchi said: “Due to the prevailing circumstances, a decision has been taken that India’s ambassador and his Indian staff will move to India immediately.”

He had also shared the helpline number as well as email details to coordinate evacuation.

IAF & C-17 Transport Aircraft

The evacuation process was very complicated and the C-17 pilots had to turn around fast with the passengers on board. The Kabul Airport is now being controlled by the US Marines who are ensuring that the evacuation flights take off safely.

According to sources, India has been in constant touch with the US and according to a tweet of external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar, the talks helped in the evacuation operation.

On August 16, the IAF had sent a C-17 to evacuate officials from the Indian mission in Kabul. Then the operations were suspended as the airspace over Afghanistan was closed.

In another mission, as the situation continued to get bad the decision to shut down the Indian mission was taken. Ambassador R Tandon and other officials and ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) troops were evacuated and brought back to India on board C-17 on August 17, 2021.

The C-17 of the IAF after taking off from Kabul had landed in Jamnagar, Gujarat first on Tuesday.

According to sources besides the embassy officials and staff several other Indians who were stuck in Afghanistan were also evacuated.

As the security situation worsened in that country India and many other countries closed their missions and evacuated their diplomats and staff.

The C-17 had to take a different route to come to India, because being a military aircraft it could fly over Afghanistan due to security reasons.

Taliban is back

Even before the complete drawdown of US led forces could be done before the August 31 deadline, the Taliban was back after 20 years. Within a matter of a few hours the Taliban forces had entered Kabul and this triggered panic amongst the people.

The evacuation was planned and carried out by the Ministry of External Affairs. In three days around 192 Indians including the mission staff and personnel and people from the public sector companies that were repatriated. This was done in three days in two phases.

Expert View — It is early days as yet

“The Taliban have just seized control of Afghanistan and now rule Kabul, the seat of government and center of power. They are anxious for the international community to view them as a government – to – be a mature disciplined and organized body capable of just and honest governance and not the despised tyrants and ragtag outfit that is associated with their name since their rapacious regime in 1996 – 2001,” Col Ronnie Rajkumar, an Indian Army veteran explained to Financial Express.

The former army officer who has extensive ground experience of 11 years in Afghanistan and the region, says, “To this end, despite sporadic reports of human rights violations and abuse of women surfacing from remote provinces, to date there have been no reportage of excesses from the major provincial capitals they have captured.”

“And there is as yet a significant US presence of 7,000 airborne troops and marines deployed in Kabul with foreign correspondents like Clarissa Ward (CNN) and Charlotte Bellis (Al Jazeera) in town. All eyes are on the Taliban and this is a make or break moment for them.”

“I feel the Taliban have been smart enough and wiser from lessons of the past, to deploy elite units like the Red Group (Sera Kheta) for the capture of Kabul. These are disciplined and fierce fighters not prone to pillaging or rape. But time will tell as to whether the Taliban leopard has really changed its spots,”he opines.

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