565 evacuated from Afghanistan: Government

Indian and Afghan Nationals upon thier arrival from Kabul at the Hindan Airbase in Ghaziabad. File   | Photo Credit: MOORTHY RV

India has evacuated 565 stranded persons from Afghanistan since August when Kabul fell to the Taliban fighters, the Government stated on Friday in the Lok Sabha.

Answering a question from Congress MP Hibi Eden, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said officials of the Ministry of External Affairs were in contact with the Indians left behind. The statement, however, did not elaborate if the airlifted individuals also included some Afghans.

“In view of the rapid deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan, especially after August 15, 2021, a 24 x 7 Special Afghanistan Cell was set up in the Ministry of External Affairs to facilitate repatriation and other requests from Afghanistan,” said Mr. Muraleedharan.

The Special Afghan Cell responded to 3,436 telephone calls, 9,581 WhatsApp messages and 4,569 emails since the beginning of ‘Operation Devi Shakti’.

“As a result, 565 stranded people were evacuated under the operation,” said Mr. Muraleedharan. The operation was launched after the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15 overthrowing the Government of President Ashraf Ghani.

India withdrew its diplomats from Kabul and other cities of Afghanistan as the Ghani Government fell. Most of the remaining Indians are Sikhs who have been residing in Afghanistan for decades. Friday’s message however does not mention how many Afghan nationals were airlifted by India. Reports suggest that several political figures of Afghanistan were also airlifted to India during August.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 11:56:04 PM |

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