Friday, 24 September, 2021

India evacuates its stranded citizens

India is continuing efforts to evacuate people from Afghanistan as the situation remains fluid after the Taliban's rapid takeover of the country.

A batch of 146 stranded Indians who were evacuated to Doha, arrived in Delhi on Monday.

They travelled to the capital in three different flights, including a transport plane, according to reports.

With this, India has evacuated nearly 400 people since the past week.

Since the Taliban swept to power in a lightning offensive on 15 August, an overwhelming number of people have tried to flee Afghanistan.

The group has assured there would be "no revenge" and retributions, but experts say it is too early to trust them, given the outfit's brutal history.

Thousands are crowded outside the Kabul airport - the only one operational for civilian operations - in the country - in a desperate attempt to escape the new regime.

India, which has already evacuated its diplomats and the ambassador, has been racing to provide safe passage to other Indians stranded amid the chaos.

On Sunday, another contingent of 168 people was airlifted from Kabul to Delhi.

The group reportedly included 24 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, two of whom were MPs in Afghanistan's now-fallen government.

"All achievements of the last 20 years in Afghanistan have been lost. Nothing is left. It's zero now," said Afghan MP Narinder Singh Khalsa after landing in India, according to The Indian Express newspaper.

Mr Khalsa said he, along with 72 other Afghan Sikhas and Hindus, had been trying to reach the Kabul airport since Friday. But they were accosted by the Taliban on the way, and sent back, he added.

The group again made its way to the airport on Saturday, where they saw a sea of desperate people.

"At each of the airport gates, 5,000-6,000 people were standing," Mr Khalsa said.

Mr Khalsa said they initially were unable to enter the airport, but were later given entry through a VIP check point.

"It is a very difficult and painful decision to leave the country. We have not seen such a situation. Everything has been snatched away. It's all over," he said.