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India’s 3rd SOS Amid Taliban Offensive in Afghanistan; Diplomats, Professionals Asked to Return

This video screen grab from AFPTV shows Afghan special forces patrol the streets of Herat as the Taliban continue a series of offensives against urban areas in Afghanistan on August 3. (Photo: AFP)

This video screen grab from AFPTV shows Afghan special forces patrol the streets of Herat as the Taliban continue a series of offensives against urban areas in Afghanistan on August 3. (Photo: AFP)

Indian companies and professionals operating in Afghanistan have been asked to immediately withdraw and leave for India at the earliest.

In a significant development ahead of complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, India in its latest security advisory in Afghanistan has asked all Indian nationals to immediately return home.

“As violence in many parts of Afghanistan has escalated, commercial air travel services to many provinces and cities are getting discontinued. All Indian nationals visiting, staying and working in Afghanistan are strongly advised to keep themselves updated on the availability of commercial flights from various parts of Afghanistan and make immediate travel arrangements to return to Indian before commercial air services are discontinued to their place PF stay/visit in Afghanistan”, the third security advisory in less than two months issued by Indian Embassy in Kabul read.

Meanwhile, Indian companies and professionals operating in Afghanistan have also been asked to immediately withdraw and leave for India at the earliest.

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“Indian companies operating in Afghanistan are strongly advised to immediately withdraw their Indian employees out of project sites in Afghanistan before air travel services get discontinued. Indian nationals working for Afghan or foreign companies in Afghanistan should immediately request their employer to facilitate their travel from project sites to India. They can also contact the Embassy at the contact details provided in the Advisory”, the advisory further said.

India withdraws diplomats from Mazar-e-Sharif

India today has also withdrawn all diplomats, officials and security personnel from its last fully functional consulate at Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. Exactly a month ago, India had withdrawn all its diplomats and staff from Indian consulate in Kandahar. Earlier last year, India had shut its consulates in Herat and Jalalabad after Taliban gained stronghold and violence escalated in the region.

India had always considered its consulates at Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif as strategically important. Even as New Delhi maintains that the Afghan staff in both these consulates will continue to operate as usual, operationally the normal functioning of the consulates will be halted.

New Delhi has sent two special flights, including an Air India aircraft to Mazar-e-Sharif to evacuate Indian diplomats, officials and security personnel apart from other Indian nationals stranded in the area. The flights are expected to land in New Delhi post-midnight.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) in its meeting on Afghanistan recently, held within the first week of India’s Presidency, had urged all members to call for an end to the violence and hostilities.

On August 3, UNSC had condemned the deplorable attack on the United Nations compound in Herat, Afghanistan, and expressed deep concern over the increase in violence in the war-torn country following the Taliban’s military offensive.

Aditya Raj Kaul is Contributing Editor, News18 group with more than a decade long experience in covering Conflict, Foreign Policy, and Internal Security. He can be reached at Aditya.Kaul@nw18.com

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first published:August 10, 2021, 21:19 IST