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September 2021
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Kerala News
Vast majority of Indians evacuated from Afghanistan, very few left: MEA
 
New Delhi: India said on Thursday that the “vast majority” of its nationals who wanted to leave Afghanistan have been evacuated and there are very few Indians left, and the government is in touch with them.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, asked how many Indians remain in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover on August 15 and the evacuation efforts, said that it is difficult to share a specific number.


“It is difficult to share a specific number, particularly given the changes that have taken place there, in the past two weeks. We think that the vast majority of Indians who wanted to leave have left the country.”

“We don’t have the exact number yet (of Indians remaining), some people wanted to leave, some have left. They are in touch with the Afghan special cell,” he added.

“The vast majority has left, there are very few left. There are some Indians there, as we are in touch with them,” he added.

“And we have to wait (to evacuate them) till Kabul airport operations begin again,” he added.

He also said that India has been prioritising the evacuation of its nationals from Kabul but any movement forward will depend on how soon the Hamid Karzai International Airport is made operational for commercial flights.

“A lot of the evacuation of people, the repatriation of people will depend on how they open the airport, till the commercial flights begin it will be difficult; there will be no clarity on evacuations till then,” the MEA spokesperson said.

“We have been prioritising the evacuation of our people, our nationals there plus some Afghans who we could bring out.

“Currently the Kabul airport is not operational, so I don’t have an update on when we will be able to do more flights,” he said.

He added that in the meantime, the government’s Special Afghanistan Cell “continues to operate, and has been in touch with whoever is in Kabul and in Afghanistan” who want to come out.

On Wednesday, Vikramjit S Sahney, president World Punjabi Organisation, said the Taliban have assured Afghan Sikhs safe passage to come to India, following the meeting between India’s Ambassador in Qatar, Deepak Mittal, and the head of Taliban’s Political Office in Doha, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai in Doha, Qatar.

Sahney also said in a press statement that his organisation is in touch with India's Ministry of External Affairs over the remaining Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan and an evacuation plan is being chalked out “in the next 10 days or so”.

Bagchi said that everything depends on Kabul airport being made functional and commercial flights resuming from there.

There are believed to be around 20 Indian nationals still remaining in Afghanistan


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