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Indians escorted by Taliban out of Afghanistan at midnight 

The Embassy braced itself and asked the Taliban to escort Indians out of Afghanistan and the Taliban escorted them to Kabul airport.

The situation in Afghanistan was tense as people were fleeing the country and outside the main iron gate of the Indian embassy in Kabul, a group of Taliban militants armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers stood around.

There were 150 Indian diplomats and nationals waiting inside the compound becoming increasingly worried as they watched news of the Taliban taking over Kabul.

Earlier, 200 or so people had already been flown out of Afghanistan before the Taliban took over and an official said that as they were trying to evacuate the second group, they faced the Taliban, who refused to allow them to exit the green zone.

It was then that they decided to contact the Taliban and ask them to escort their convoy out and the Taliban agreed.

It appeared that the Taliban did not want revenge and readily took the Indian embassy staff to the Kabul airport, where a military aircraft was on standby to evacuate them.

As the first of approximately two dozen vehicles rolled out of the embassy late on Monday night, some of the Taliban waved and smiled at the passengers. They were guided towards the street leading out of the city’s green zone and on the main road to the airport on a five-kilometer or three-mile journey to the airport.

As the first of nearly two dozen vehicles drove out of the embassy late on Monday, some of the fighters waved and smiled at the passengers, an AFP news agency correspondent among them.

One guided them towards the street leading out of the city’s green zone and on the main road to the airport.

After a wait of extra two hours, the group boarded a C-17 Indian military transport plane that took off at dawn, landing at an air force base in the western Indian state of Gujarat later that morning.

“I’m so happy to be back,” Shirin Pathare, an Air India employee flown out of Kabul, told the AFP news agency as he stepped off the aircraft. “India is paradise.”

Another Indian citizen holding his two-year-old daughter relayed the fear and anxiety of his speedy departure from his office and the city and told AFP declining to give his name, “Just hours before I took the flight, a group of Taliban visited my workplace.  They were polite but when they went, they took two of our vehicles. I immediately knew it was time for me and my family to leave,” he added.

India had earlier strongly backed the Afghan government thus stirring up the hatred and enmity from the Taliban.  In fact, after Afghanistan was left devastated in 2001, India has helped the country build roads, schools, hospitals, dams, and many other crucial projects that helped shape the country’s future. India has invested more than $3 billion in Afghanistan.

Right now, no one is quite sure what will happen and the mood of the world appears to be watch and wait.

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