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On Tuesday morning, embassy officials, Indo-Tibetan Border Police troops, and four journalists boarded a secret operations aircraft from Kabul airport.


On August 17, a secret operations flight carrying 140 Indians, mainly the last of the Indian embassy staff, Indo-Tibetan Border Police troops, and four journalists, took out from Kabul airport. The flight, a C-17 Globemaster, was among two military planes used by the Indian Air Force to transport all Indian people from the embassy back to India.

Another C-17 flight rescued roughly 40 ambassadors and other employees on August 16 while Taliban guards in Kabul city turned them away from going to the airport. The next day was stressful as Indian officials, led by Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon, negotiated also with new militia in charge of the capital as well as other diplomatic missions to assure that the 140-strong convoy arrived at Kabul airport late on August 16. Most Indians arrived about 6 a.m. despite spending a night there at airport. Two aircraft traveled a lengthy and complex path, skipping Pakistani territory and limiting transit via Afghan airspace, and pass over Iran before returning to India over through the Arabian Sea and again into Gujarat, as per the tracker data.

With the return including all diplomatic personnel, India’s diplomatic post in Afghanistan is, at the very least, currently closed. India had previously closed embassies in Jalalabad and Herat the year before, as well as consulates in Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif in the previous month. Once all the Taliban government in Kabul is officially revealed, the administration would have to choose on the status of relations with them.


After turmoil on the tarmac on August 16, which left nearly five Afghans dead, the administration would have to choose how to assist any Indians remaining trapped in Kabul. Afghans who’ve been able to obtain visas over the last few days and wanted to migrate to India will also have to be evaluated. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on August 16 that it would assist “Hindus and Sikhs” but that it would “stand by” India’s Afghan allies who done some work alongside India. The MEA has established the following hotlines: MEAHelpdeskIndia@gmail.com; phone: +919717785379; email: MEAHelpdeskIndia@gmail.com

“Familiarize yourself with the concerns of individuals attempting to return to India. The biggest challenge is airport management. In this context, conversations are ongoing with partners,” said External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in a tweet.

Taliban Deputy Leader Baradar is scheduled to begin with officials of the “coordinating council” reflecting the previous Afghan administration, including ex – president Hamid Karzai, peace negotiations chairman Abdullah Abdullah, and Hizb-e-Islami chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, to discuss the new government. The council’s leaders published remarks on August 16 claiming to be “in touch with the Islamic Taliban movement” and having “good negotiations.” More negotiations could actually occur in Doha, according to international sources, where concerns like ensuring rights for all Afghans, particularly women and minorities, as well as some form of political participation for Afghans, are high on the priority list.

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