Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Taliban had escorted Indians evacuated from the Indian mission in Kabul to the airport on Monday amid chaos: Report

A day after the Taliban had captured Afghanistan capital Kabul, the Indian government had evacuated 120 people working at the Indian embassy there in a military transport plane. Now it had emerged that the Taliban had themselves escorted the Indians from the embassy to the airport amid the chaos on the streets.  

According to a report published by Pakistani daily Dawn, the Indian govt had approached the Taliban to allow the Indians to leave the country after the Indians were unable to reach the airport due to the road blockades put up by the Taliban. Around 50 people who had gathered at the Indian embassy after the Taliban reached the city were already evacuated on Sunday itself, and the rest around 150 people were scheduled to be evacuated on the next day as the Indian govt had decided to close the mission in Kabul.

But when the officials were evacuating the second group, the Taliban refused to allow them to exit the Green Zone, the zone in Kabul that houses foreign missions. The Taliban had closed access to the green zone, making it impossible to enter or exit the zone without the approval of the Taliban. It was a difficult situation for India, as Pakistan is the biggest supporter of the Taliban, and on the other hand, India has been one of the major supporters of the Ashraf Ghani government. Which meant that it was very difficult for the Indians to obtain a concession from the group.

Indian officials requested the Taliban twice in the day to escort the convoy out, but both the pledges were rejected. After the diplomates staying in a house arrest like situation for the whole day, the Taliban however finally agreed, and allowed the cars to move late in the evening, escorted by Talibani vehicles.

According to the Dawn report, some Talibanis even waved at the Indians and smiled at the group travelling in nearly two dozen vehicles. Led by Talibanis in escort vehicles carrying guns, the convoy took 5 hours to reach the airport 5 km away, due to checkpoints put up by the group, and also due to swarms of people coming onto the streets, looking for ways to leave the country.

However, the Talibanis helped the Indian convoy to move ahead, by pushing back the crowd from the road by pointing guns at them. At one intersection, the Talibanis even fired in the air to scare away the people from the road.

19/08/21 OpIndia

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