New Delhi: Around 300 Indian nationals are expected to be brought back home from Afghanistan on Sunday as part of India’s evacuation mission in view of the deteriorating security situation in Afghan capital Kabul, people familiar with the development said.
Eighty-seven Indians were on Saturday taken to Tajikistan capital Dushanbe from Kabul on board a military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force and the group is being brought back to Delhi in a special Air India flight from the central Asian city early on Sunday.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi added that IAF special repatriation flight with 168 passengers onboard, including 107 Indian nationals, is on its way to Delhi from Kabul.
He had earlier tweeted that two Nepalese citizens are also coming to India on board the Air India flight.
“Bringing Indians home from Afghanistan! AI 1956 carrying 87 Indians departs from Tajikistan for New Delhi. Two Nepalese nationals also evacuated. Assisted and supported by our Embassy @IndEmbDushanbe. More evacuation flights to follow,” Bagchi tweeted at around 1:20 am.
He said the passengers were earlier evacuated from Kabul by an IAF aircraft.
Separately, the Indian embassy in Qatar said 135 Indians, who were evacuated from Kabul to Doha in the last few days, are being sent to India.
“1st batch of 135 Indians who were evacuated 4m Kabul to Doha over past days being repatriated tonight to India,” the embassy said in a post-midnight tweet.
It said embassy officials provided consular and logistics assistance to ensure the safe return of the Indians.
“We thank Qatar authorities n all concerned for making this possible,” it added.
It is learnt that the Indians evacuated to Doha from Kabul were employees of a number of foreign companies that were operating in Afghanistan. The Indians were flown in to Doha by US and NATO aircraft.
The people cited above said on condition of anonymity that close 100 Indians are likely to be brought back to India from Kabul in an Indian Air Force heavy-lift aircraft by Sunday.
The total number of Indians to be evacuated on Sunday is around 300, they said.
India has already evacuated 200 people including the Indian envoy and other staffers of its embassy in Kabul in two C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft of the IAF after the Taliban seized control of Kabul on Sunday.
The first evacuation flight brought back over 40 people, mostly staffers at the Indian embassy, on Monday.
The second C-17 aircraft evacuated around 150 people including Indian diplomats, officials, security personnel and some stranded Indians from Kabul on Tuesday.
The Taliban swept across Afghanistan this month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities including Kabul in the backdrop of the withdrawal of the US forces.
The mission to evacuate close to 200 Indians was accomplished with support from the US.
Following the evacuation, the MEA said the focus now would be to ensure the safe return of all Indian nationals from the Afghan capital.
The MEA said the immediate priority for the government is to obtain accurate information about all Indian nationals currently staying in Afghanistan.
It also requested the Indians as well as their employers to urgently share the relevant details with the special Afghanistan cell.
As per a rough estimate earlier, the number of Indians stranded in Afghanistan could be around 400 and India has been looking at ways to evacuate them including by coordinating with the US and other friendly countries.