India evacuates 50 diplomats from the Kandahar consulate as the Taliban rapidly advances, capturing new areas raising safety concerns.
The Taliban is rapidly gaining control of new areas around the southern Afghan city, and The Ministry of External said India was fully watching the deteriorating security condition in Afghanistan and its implications on the safety and security of Indian nationals.
“Our response will be calibrated accordingly,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing on Thursday.
A special aircraft of the Indian Air Force was sent on Saturday to bring back the Indian diplomats, officials, and other staff members including a group of Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel.
The Indian embassy in Kabul said there was no intention to close the embassy and the consulates in Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif.
India’s decision to momentarily close the consulate in Kandahar came because of Taliban fighters swiftly snatching control of several key areas in the region as well as in western Afghanistan triggering immense safety concerns.
Afghanistan observed a string of terror attacks in the last few weeks as the US moved to achieve the complete withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by August-end, completing a nearly two-decade of its military presence in the war-torn nation. There were reports that at least two foreign missions in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, have closed their operation in view of escalating violence in the region.
Amid developing concerns in India over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, Afghan Ambassador Farid Mamundzay on Tuesday briefed Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on the situation in Afghanistan.
The Indian embassy last week asked all Indians visiting, staying, and working in Afghanistan to use utmost caution concerning their security and avoid all types of non-essential travel because of rising incidents of violence in various parts of the country.
In an advisory, the embassy said the security situation in Afghanistan remains “dangerous” and that terror groups have carried out a series of complex attacks including targeting civilians, adding Indian nationals additionally face a “serious threat” of kidnapping.
In response to the media queries on the Indian Consulate in Kandahar, the Official Spokesperson, Shri Arindam Bagchi said:
“India is closely monitoring the evolving security situation in Afghanistan. The safety and security of our personnel is paramount. The Consulate General of India in Kandahar has not been closed. However, due to the intense fighting near Kandahar city, India-based personnel have been brought back for the time being. I want to emphasize that this is a purely temporary measure until the situation stabilizes. The Consulate continues to operate through our local staff members.
Arrangements are being made to ensure continued delivery of visa and consular services through our Embassy in Kabul.
As an important partner of Afghanistan, India remains committed to a peaceful, sovereign, and democratic Afghanistan.”
India has been an important stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested nearly USD three billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country. India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled.
In March, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar visited India at which time, Jaishankar conveyed to him India’s long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign, and stable Afghanistan.