Last Sunday, on August 22, India brought back as many as 392 people, including two Afghan lawmakers, in three different flights in a bid to evacuate its nationals from Afghanistan.
An Indian official has confirmed that an air force transport plane — a C-17 heavy-lift military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) — carrying 168 people on board has left Kabul for New Delhi. The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, said that the plane left Kabul on August 22 with 107 Indian nationals. He did not reveal the nationalities of 61 others who were also evacuated from the Afghan capital. Among the 168 people were Afghan lawmakers Anarkali Honaryar and Narender Singh Khalsa and their families.
Last week, another group of 87 Indians were also evacuated from Kabul to Tajikistan in an Indian air force plane. Two Nepalese nationals were evacuated on that flight too. They later departed from Tajikistan for New Delhi.
In a separate evacuation, India brought back 135 Indians, who were earlier evacuated from Kabul to Doha by the US and NATO aircraft, from the Qatari capital city to Delhi.
India has been continuously evacuating its nationals from Afghanistan after the Taliban captured Kabul. According to the Press Trust of India news agency, about 400 Indians were believed to be stranded in Afghanistan.
On Monday, more than 70 people were evacuated from Afghanistan by India. They were flown from Kabul to Dushanbe in Tajikistan in an IAF aircraft.
In one of its latest evacuations, India on Tuesday brought back 78 people, including 25 Indian nationals and many Afghan Sikhs and Hindus from Dushanbe. This comes a day after they were evacuated from Kabul to the Tajik city.
The number of people brought back to Delhi is now at least 800 after Tuesday’s evacuation, since August 16, 2021.
Among the 168 people who were evacuated was an Afghan woman refugee who was forced to flee the country with her daughter and her two grandchildren. She thanked the Indian government for rescuing them.
“Situation was deteriorating in Afghanistan, so I came here with my daughter and two grandchildren. Our Indian brothers and sisters came to our rescue. They (the Taliban) burnt down my house. I thank India for helping us,” the woman said.
Visuals also showed an infant among those who were evacuated. The infant can be seen in the arms of his/her mother while a young girl smiles and kisses the baby.
In May 2021, the US-led military coalition began the pullout of its forces, which led Afghanistan’s long-running conflict to escalate quickly and dramatically.