India today said that the exact number of its citizens remaining in war-torn Afghanistan was unknown. The Ministry of External Affairs believes it has evacuated most who wanted to return while some are still around.
"The numbers keep changing. Our overall assessment is that the vast majority of Indians who wish to return have been evacuated. Some more are likely to be in Afghanistan. I don't have the exact number for that," Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said today during a press briefing on the situation in the war-torn country.
"We are monitoring the situation very carefully. It is an evolving situation."
India has till now evacuated hundreds of people from that country since the abrupt takeover of the country's governance by Taliban terrorists last week unleashed much fear and desperation, especially in capital Kabul.
Mr Bagchi said India had evacuated over 550 people in six separate flights, either from Kabul or Dushanbe. "Of these, over 260 were Indians. The government of India also facilitated the evacuation of Indian nationals through other agencies. We were in touch with various countries, like US, Tajikistan."
"We were able to bring out some Afghan nationals as well as nationals from other countries. Of these, many of them were Sikhs and Hindus. Primarily, our focus will be on Indian nationals, but we'll also stand by Afghans who stood by us," Mr Bagchi said.
"The last flight had 40-odd people. We were hearing reports that Afghan nationals were facing difficulties in reaching airport. We know some Afghan nationals, including Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, couldn't reach the airport on August 25. Our flight had to come without them."
Referring to Afghan refugees keen in coming to India, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has announced six-month emergency e-visas, he said.
The ministry said India was Uzbekistan and Iran's air space was opened up for India for evacuation sorties.
Mr Bagchi, however, did not comment on the explosions that took place at the Kabul airport last night.