India has put in place contingency plans to evacuate hundreds of its officials and citizens from Kabul, that has been gripped by fear and panic following reports of Taliban militants entering the outskirts city on August 15.
People familiar with the development said that the government will not put the lives of its staffers at the Indian embassy and Indian citizens in Kabul at risk, and plans have already been finalised in case emergency evacuation is required.
"The government is closely monitoring the fast-paced developments in Afghanistan. We will not put the lives of our staff at the Indian embassy in Kabul at any risk," said one of the persons cited above.
With respect to when the evacuation may take place, they said that the decisions will depend on the ground situation.
It has been learnt that a fleet of the C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force is kept on standby to undertake evacuation missions.
According to reports from Kabul, Taliban militants have entered the outskirts of the city, triggering panic and fear among the residents.
In the last few days , the Taliban militants have swept through most parts of Afghanistan, seizing control of around 25 of the 34 provincial capitals, including cities such as Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad.
The Afghan Presidential Palace said on Twitter that the situation is under control in Kabul and it has not been attacked, though there were instances of sporadic gunshots.
"Kabul has not been attacked. The country's security and defence forces are working together with international partners to ensure the security of the city and the situation is under control," the statement in Pashto said.
The BBC reported from Kabul, quoting the country's acting interior minister, that a peaceful transfer of power to the transitional government is being prepared.
As the situation deteriorated in Kabul, the United States and the embassies of several other countries began evacuating their staff from the Afghan city.