India urged its nationals to leave Afghanistan yesterday, August 10, on a special flight from Mazar-i-Sharif amid clashes with the Taliban.
“A special flight is leaving from Mazar-e-Sharif to New Delhi. Any Indian nationals in and around Mazar-e-Sharif are requested to leave for India in the special flight scheduled to depart late today evening,” the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif tweeted.
Another tweet urged the nationals to immediately share their full name, passport, number, date of expiry on a couple of WhatsApp numbers.
Indians working in the Mazar-i-Sharif Consulate were supposed to leave on that particular flight, too, with which there will no longer be any Indians in any of the four consulates in Mazar, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Herat. Government data says that around 1,500 Indians currently stay in Afghanistan.
Last month, as Afghanistan was in a state of despair with clashes between Afghan forces and Taliban fighters, India had pulled out as many as 50 diplomats and security personnel from its consulate in Kandahar.
Later, the embassy also tweeted a security advisory for Indian nationals in Afghanistan to remain updated on the availability of commercial flights before the services are impacted. The embassy further asked media persons in the country to get in touch with them for any specific advice.
This week, the Taliban confirmed that they had turned their sights on Mazar-i-Sharif and have launched a four-pronged attack on the city. Sheberghan to its west and Kunduz and Taloqan in the east have already been captured. Mazar-i-Sharif is the largest city in the north.
A national peace and reconciliation process, Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, has gained New Delhi’s support.
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. The exercise is expected to be completed before the month ends.
Across the country, the Taliban have taken control of numerous districts. As per US intelligence assessments, the country’s civilian government could fall to the terror group within months of the withdrawal of US forces.