MEA sets up a 24×7 Afghanistan helpline for smooth evacuation

By: |
Updated: August 20, 2021 2:51 PM

The helplines in the special Afghanistan Cell were set up earlier this week after the Taliban had taken over Kabul.

afghansPeople try to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 16, 2021. (Reuters)

The Ministry of External Affairs has set up a cell which is working 24×7 to help both Indian nationals as well Afghans who want to come to India. This cell is working on a war footing to respond to requests received through emails and helplines. The helplines in the special Afghanistan Cell were set up earlier this week after the Taliban had taken over Kabul.

More about the cell

This cell according to the MEA works 24×7 and it operates in shifts. More than 20 young Indian Foreign Service Officers have been identified and they work in shifts. In each shift there are 7-8 officers.

According to a rough estimate around 300-400 Indians are still stuck in that country who need to be evacuated. A database has been created by the MEA on the Indians who are waiting to come back to India.

The special Afghanistan Cell is working with various divisions within the MEA as the focus is on streamlining the entire process of taking out Indian nationals and the Afghans who want to come safely.

As has been reported earlier, even before the Taliban took over the entire country, the Indian Mission in Afghanistan had repeatedly issued advisories, four times to be precise. They had urged the Indians stuck there to leave the country as soon as possible on the commercial flights while the airspace was still open.

Now, India is in talks with the other commercial airlines including Qatar Airways and others to help in bringing back the people who want to come here.

And, for the first time India has introduced a special e-Visa for the Afghan nations and after scrutiny they will get a visa with a validity of six months.

This is the second time the MEA has set up a Special Cell. The first one was in 2020, when it had initiated the largest ever repatriation operations during the global pandemic of COVID-19.

Indians have been evacuated

India has been successful in safely evacuating Indian nations from the war torn country. They all came on board an Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft C-17. This aircraft is from the US based Boeing Company and is already inducted in the transport fleet and has been deployed during the global pandemic and now evacuating Indian nationals from Afghanistan.

The evacuation was possible with the help of the US troops who are controlling the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul for flight operations. The authorities in India have been closely in touch with other governments and agencies to ensure that Indian nationals are taken out safely.

Discussions continue to get help in getting those left behind and those who want to come to India.

India talks to US again

Both sides have agreed to work together in close coordination.

The main challenge is to keep the airport in Kabul operational as then only commercial flights can go in to evacuate.

How can one connect with the special cell?

Both Indian nationals and the Afghans can either send an email, call or just WhatsApp their query and they will get an immediate response.

The WhatsApp helpline numbers are: +91 8010611290, +91 9599321199, +91 7042049944.

The email address is – SituationRoom@mea.gov.in

And the cell phone numbers are: +91-11-49016783, +91-11-49016784, +91-11-49016785.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Defence technology key to the future of Atmanirbhar Bharat
2Permanent UNSC seat is India’s top priority, says Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla
3Strong sentiment within QUAD that Afghanistan is high priority: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla