Tuesday, August 17, 2021

IAF plane from Kabul lands at Jamnagar airbase; leaves for Delhi after refuelling

Jamnagar: An Indian Air Force plane with 120 people, including the Indian ambassador and staff at the embassy in Kabul, landed on Tuesday at Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat from Afghanistan, an official said. The C-17 aircraft touched down at the IAF airbase at 11.15 am en route to the Hindon airbase near Delhi. It took off for Hindon shortly after 3 pm after refuelling, the official said.

 The aircraft had taken off from Kabul carrying Indian personnel as part of the emergency evacuation because of the prevailing situation in the Afghan capital following its takeover by the Taliban. Immediately after passengers on board the C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft deplaned, they were greeted by people present on the tarmac, the official said. Many passengers were garlanded and many others were seen chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. 

Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon told reporters in Jamnagar that the situation in Kabul is complex and "quite fluid" now and that Indians stuck in the city will be brought back home when the commercial flight services resume. 

"Happy to be back home safely and securely. We are a very large mission. We are a mission of 192 personnel who were evacuated from Afghanistan literally within three days in a very orderly fashion in two phases," he said. Tandon, who assumed charge as Indian ambassador in Afghanistan in August last year, said the embassy assisted and even gave shelter to many distressed Indians following the fast-changing situation in Kabul. 

"We are continuously monitoring the situation because there are still some Indian citizens who are there. That is why Air India will continue to run its commercial services to Kabul," he said. "Your welcome has an impact on all of us. Thank you to the Indian Air Force who flew us out under conditions that are not normal," Tandon, said, adding continuing to work for the welfare of the Afghan people is very much on India''s mind This is the second evacuation flight. 

On Monday, another C-17 aircraft had evacuated around 40 people including some Indian embassy staff from Kabul before the operations at the airport in the city were suspended.

17/08/21 PTI/Outlook

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