Monday, August 16, 2021

India plans to finish evacuation in 48 hours

New Delhi: As the Taliban reached Kabul on Sunday, India prepared to evacuate its staff and embassy personnel from Kabul in the next 48 hours.

With US forces still in control of Kabul airport, Indian commercial flights are continuing but not for long. India plans to complete evacuating its nationals before the US completes its own withdrawal. By Sunday evening, President Ashraf Ghani and his top advisers had resigned and fled Kabul. Taliban fighters had, according to reports, taken up security positions in various parts of the city.

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The speed of the Taliban takeover has been a surprise though the inevitability of the Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan after the US left was never in question. On Sunday night, reports came in that the US had evacuated its acting ambassador from Kabul, while other western embassies were also moving their staff close to the airport.

Russia called for an emergency meeting of the UN security council. Since India is president of the Council this month, the meeting is likely to happen on Monday. However, Russia said they would not close their embassy in Kabul, saying the Taliban had given them security assurances. Pakistan and China are also expected to keep their missions running in the city.

16/08/21 Indrani Bagchi/Times of India

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