This Article is From Aug 16, 2021

IAF Evacuates 45 Indians From Kabul Mission, More Await Rescue: Sources

Afghanistan crisis: An aircraft is parked at the Kabul airport, sources said. The big concern is to safely transport Indian mission staffers there.

Afghan Crisis: Afghans looking to catch a flight out of Kabul overran the airport today

New Delhi:

An Indian Air Force aircraft arrived in New Delhi today from Kabul with some 45 Indians, including the embassy staff posted there, reports have said. More such evacuation sorties are planned, according to sources. Scores of others, including foreign ministry staff and paramilitary soldiers tasked with their protection, remain in the Indian mission in the Afghanistan capital.

A C-17 evacuation flight returned this afternoon New Delhi with personnel and equipment, according to an ANI report. Sources had earlier informed NDTV that above 200 Indians, including some 100 personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, awaited evacuation from India's Kabul mission. 

The big concern is to safely transport them to the airport, the sources said, adding that the Taliban have enforced a curfew in the city.

The Afghan airspace has been closed to commercial flights after thousands of desperate people overran the tarmac this morning in the hope of getting out of the war-torn country, a day after the Taliban took control of the city. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has already left the country.

The Cabinet Secretary is meeting with Foreign Ministry officials to work out the evacuation plan, which is already in place, in detail, sources said.

Questions are being raised on why the Indian mission staff were not evacuated in the last three-four days when the situation on the ground was changing fast, sources have said. The missions of other nations in the war-torn country had been thinning out when Taliban started taking city after city before encircling Kabul and entering the city on Sunday.

With Afghanistan's airspace closed, Air India flights coming from the US are likely to be re-routed, sources said. Flights AI-126 (Chicago-New Delhi) and AI-174 (San Francisco-New Delhi) will have to re-routed to a Gulf nation to refuel, they said, adding Air India is also working on new routes for flights that will depart later from India to the US.

The Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority asked all transit aircraft to reroute, adding any transit through Kabul airspace would be uncontrolled, news agency Reuters reported. Kabul's flight information region covers all of Afghanistan.

Five people were killed at Kabul airport today, but it's unclear whether they died in firing or stampede, Reuters reported.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the terrorists had won the 20-year war. The astonishingly quick collapse of the government, with terrorists taking over the presidential palace on Sunday night, was what triggered fear and panic in Kabul.