Monday, September 13, 2021

No direct Delhi-Kabul flights anytime soon, India to carry out evacuations via Doha

New Delhi: Despite resumption of domestic flights and some international flights from Afghanistan, direct flights between Kabul and New Delhi are unlikely to resume soon, ThePrint has learnt.

India is now planning to evacuate those Indian nationals as well as Afghan nationals who want to come to India via Qatar, sources told ThePrint. This is because India has no ground staff present at the Kabul International Airport who can facilitate the flights, the sources added.

Before the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban on 15 August, there were direct flights from Delhi to Kabul operated by Air India and KAM Air. The last Air India flight that was Kabul-bound and scheduled to reach on 16 August, could not land as the airport came under the control of the Taliban and was shut down temporarily.

According to sources, the Air India staff was evacuated on the same day the entire diplomatic staff, including India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon, left Kabul.

At the time, only two Air India staff members were in Kabul — the country manager and a security official, both of whom are now back in India, sources said.

For the Narendra Modi government, resuming flights to Kabul will depend on the ground situation and what policy it will ultimately follow in dealing with the Taliban.

13/09/21 Nayanima Basu/Print

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