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India Evacuates 35 People from Kabul Amid Security Concerns

The Taliban took over Afghanistan a few days ago.

The Taliban took over Afghanistan a few days ago.

People familiar with the evacuation mission said a plan was firmed up to bring back over 180 people but only 35 could be airlifted as the rest of them could not reach the Kabul airport.

India on Thursday evacuated 24 of its citizens and 11 Nepalese nationals in a military aircraft from Kabul in the backdrop of further deterioration in the security situation in the Afghan capital. People familiar with the evacuation mission said a plan was firmed up to bring back over 180 people but only 35 could be airlifted as the rest of them could not reach the Kabul airport to board the C-17 aircraft of the Indian Air Force in view of multiple check posts and other restrictions imposed by the Taliban in the city.

"Op Devi Shakti in action! @IAF_MC flight with 24 Indian and 11 Nepalese evacuees from Kabul is on its way to Delhi. #DeviShakti," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted in the morning. The people cited above said the security situation around the Kabul airport deteriorated further in the last couple of days due to which the Afghans and other people could not reach it.

There has been a scramble by various countries to evacuate their citizens from Kabul before the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of American troops from the war-ravaged country. American forces have been handling the security at the Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul. Under its mission "Operation Devi Shakti", India has already evacuated over 800 people after Kabul was captured by the Taliban on August 15.

Thousands of Afghans have been crowding around the Kabul airport for over a week, in a desperate attempt to flee the country fearing the Taliban's brutality. Several G-7 leaders requested US President Joe Biden to extend the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of American troops. However, Biden said the US is trying to stick to the timetable.

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In the last few days, India has stepped up efforts to evacuate its citizens as well as its Afghan partners from Kabul in view of the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital and other parts of the country. On Tuesday, 78 people, including 25 Indian nationals and a number of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, were airlifted to Delhi from Dushanbe, a day after they were evacuated from Kabul to the Tajik city.

India evacuated 392 people including two Afghan lawmakers in three different flights on Sunday. The Taliban seized control of Kabul on August 15. Within two days of the Taliban's capture of Kabul, India evacuated 200 people, including the Indian envoy and other staffers of its embassy in the Afghan capital.

The first evacuation flight brought back over 40 people, mostly staffers at the Indian embassy on August 16. The second aircraft evacuated around 150 people including Indian diplomats, officials, security personnel and some stranded Indians from Kabul on August 17.

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first published:August 26, 2021, 19:38 IST