Tuesday, August 17, 2021

'It was a horrible rush to catch the last flight home’

Kolkata: When Air India flight AI-244 took off from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai airport for Delhi on Sunday, it was a surreal experience for Sohini Sarkar, a Kolkatan who now lives in the US and was working with an NGO in Afghanistan. Sarkar managed to reach the airport when the Taliban militia started entering Kabul and was lucky to board the last Air India flight which took off in the evening and landed in Delhi around 9pm on Sunday. “It was a horrible rush against time,” Sarkar told TOI after reaching a friend’s place in Delhi.

“On Saturday night, there were blackouts and massive power outages. I lived close to the airport where US troops are stationed and thought it was a safe place. But on Sunday everything changed. We got an urgent reminder from the US embassy to burn all sensitive documents related to staffers and beneficiaries and leave as soon as possible. It was a horrible situation. Some of my colleagues went to banks to withdraw money but the banks had crashed. We sent the Afghan nationals home from office even as some of us frantically tried to destroy all documents. It was just a matter of hours,” recounts Sarkar.

“Usually it takes 15-20 minutes to reach the airport from where I lived in Kabul but on Sunday the stretch was packed with thousands of cars and it took me over an hour. Thankfully, there were no attacks or checkpoints yet,” said Sarkar.

17/08/21 Dipawali Mitra/Times of India

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment