Kabul: India evacuates 170 officials; announces emergency e-visa for Afghans
Many nations are getting their diplomatic staff out of Afghanistan after the Taliban swept into power.
An Indian airforce plane evacuated over 170 people from Kabul on Tuesday, including India's ambassador to Afghanistan, a government official said, as diplomats and civilians scrambled to get out of the country after the Taliban seized the capital.
The flight landed in the western Indian city of Jamnagar for refuelling on the way to Delhi, Jamnagar collector Sourabh Pardhi told Reuters.
Speaking to reporters, Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon said that nearly 200 personnel of the Indian mission in Afghanistan had been evacuated within three days, alongside Indian civilians working in the country.
"You cannot imagine how great it is to be back home," Tandon said. "We are back home safely, securely, without any accidents or harm to any of our people."
Tandon described the situation in Afghanistan as "fluid", adding that a small number of Indian nationals remained in the country who authorities were attempting to bring back.
Thousands of people desperate to flee Afghanistan thronged Kabul's airport on Monday, after the Taliban fighters streamed into the capital unopposed, prompting the United States to pause evacuations.
India, which has invested millions of dollars in development projects across Afghanistan, once operated four consulates in the country, besides the embassy in Kabul.
The last operating consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif was shut down a week ago, days before Taliban took control of the northern city, where the Afghan army quickly surrendered.
Emergency e-visa for Afghans
The Indian government on Tuesday also announced a new electronic visa that would fast-track applications from Afghans who wish to escape to India.
MHA reviews visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan. A new category of electronic visa called “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa” introduced to fast-track visa applications for entry into India.@HMOIndia @PIB_India @DDNewslive @airnewsalerts— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) August 17, 2021
The foreign ministry had said it was in constant touch with Indian nationals in Afghanistan, especially those from the Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities.
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