IAF’s C-17 : Lifeline for the Indians and others waiting to be evacuated from Kabul

By: |
August 22, 2021 5:01 PM

Almost 400 people have been evacuated on Sunday itself. Out of these 400 329 are Indian citizens, two Afghan lawmakers and other Afghan citizens, as well as two Nepalese.

The details of the evacuation of the Indian citizens by the Air India and IndiGo flights was shared by the official spokesperson of MEA Arindam Bagchi. ( Picture credit: IAF twitter)The details of the evacuation of the Indian citizens by the Air India and IndiGo flights was shared by the official spokesperson of MEA Arindam Bagchi. ( Picture credit: IAF twitter)

On Sunday morning C-17 heavy-lift military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) brought back 168 passengers. There were 107 Indian, 24 Afghan Sikhs and two Afghan senators on board. The families of Anarkali Honaryar and Narender Singh Khalsa were on board the special IAF flight.

The flight that had taken off from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul landed at the Hindon air base near Delhi. It was a special flight which was deployed for this mission and was closely coordinated by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) which has set up a 24×7 Special Afghanistan Cell.

Where will the evacuees stay?

According to reports these evacuees who arrived on board the special flight are going to stay at the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara. Many of them were actually staying in the safety of a Gurdwara in Kabul.

This is the second batch of Indians to be evacuated from Kabul in a week after Taliban took over Afghanistan, who had come on board C-17 Transport Aircraft of the IAF and had first landed in Gujarat for refueling before reaching Delhi.

Commercial Flights

There are no direct commercial flights to the war torn Afghanistan. Around 87 people were evacuated from Kabul and lifted to Dushanbe on board C-17 of IAF.

However those who wanted to come to India are now coming on board commercial flights from other countries including Dushanbe in Tajikistan and Doha in Qatar. There are three flights – Vistara, IndiGo and Air India carrying Indian passengers who had been evacuated from that country.

According to sources, two flights per day will be allowed to operate out of the Hamid Karzai International Airport to bring back those who want to come to India.

Who has given the permission?

Right now the airport in Kabul is being manned and operated by American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces.

The details of the evacuation of the Indian citizens by the Air India and IndiGo flights was shared by the official spokesperson of MEA Arindam Bagchi.

All the passengers who have come on different flights had to undergo RT-PCR Tests on their arrival.

Were they abducted by the Taliban?

There has been an official statement on an earlier news that the Indian citizens who were waiting to be evacuated were abducted by the Taliban forces. However, the `abducted’ Indians were taken to the police station to be questioned and checked for their travel documents. These citizens were picked up close on the heels of 85 Indians being evacuated on board IAF C-17 transport aircraft from Kabul.

So far how many are back?

Almost 400 people have been evacuated on Sunday itself. Out of these 400 329 are Indian citizens, two Afghan lawmakers and other Afghan citizens, as well as two Nepalese.

They all came on three different flights.

Why Doha and Dushanbe? And who are the Indians who have returned?

A lot of people were actually airlifted out of Kabul on board the aircraft of the US and NATO forces. And from there they came on board special flights.

The whole evacuation is being carried out by the MEA which is working closely with various governments in the region and the Indian missions.

Several Indian citizens on board these special flights are the ones who were working on various projects in the war torn country and were the employees of a number of foreign companies.

Evacuation Missions so far

So far India has evacuated 200 people which brought back the Indian ambassador and other staff and personnel on board the C-17 after the Taliban took over Kabul. The first evacuation on last Monday had brought back 40 people which included the staffers of the Indian mission and consulates.

This was then followed by another round of evacuation on Tuesday when around 150 people and K-9s came back.

India has once again urged all the employers and the Indian citizens to share relevant details.

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