0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

india | IST

Afghanistan crisis: India makes contingency plans to evacuate diplomatic staff

Even as Taliban takes over the capital city of Kabul, Indian diplomatic staff are still in the city. What is the Indian government's response to the crisis?
India has been evacuating its citizens, diplomatic staff from different consulates over the last one month or so. The speed of Taliban takeover of the presidential palace and seizing power and Ashraf Ghani fleeing -- this is something that has really taken the Indian government and many of the Western democracies by a big, big surprise as well.
At this moment, all commercial flights to Afghanistan and Kabul have been stopped because the airspace has been termed as unstable. The Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul is under Taliban control right now and no airliner wants to take their flights there.
When CNBC-TV18 spoke to Air India officials, they said that they had a flight scheduled for Kabul today and that has been suspended because the airspace there is closed. Air India carries out a flight to Afghanistan, to Kabul every day of the week and for the moment those operations are suspended.
Indian Ambassador, diplomatic staff are still in Kabul, in the embassy and contingency plans are being made to evacuate them. A high-level crisis meeting was called by the Cabinet Secretary, top officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, intelligence agencies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as defence, in order to find out what's happening on the ground, the threats to the Indian Embassy, the officials there and what can be done to bring them back safely.
There is a lot of confusion because one does not know who is going to be in power. Taliban has said that a transition government will be announced very soon. Right now, the Indian government does not know who to negotiate with over there and who to talk to. So, there is a lot of chaos, confusion on the ground.
Taliban is saying that the contours of a new regime will be formulated and would be shared with the public very soon. Ashraf Ghani had fled Kabul for Tajikistan on Sunday, he said that he took the move so that the nation does not bleed but the nation is already bleeding over the past three to four months or so.
There are chaotic scenes at the Kabul airport, as people scramble to get out of the country. A lot of diplomats and high-ranking officials have left the country. The US is sending about 6000 troops to Kabul to take control of the airport, specifically the air traffic control, and make sure that Americans -- the local staff who were supporting the embassy and interpreters are able to move out of Kabul and America is able to evacuate them. So that is the focus.
America is saying that they are not going to change their mind about what's happening in Kabul, and are not going to change plans about troop withdrawal and that they are only sending troops to make sure their staff is evacuated.
For more, watch the video