Indian evacuation from Kabul on the verge of completion, 2 more flights today
With Modi’s government’s mission Kabul entering its end phase with two more evacuation flights landing from Afghanistan today
With Modi's government's mission Kabul entering its end phase with two more evacuation flights landing from Afghanistan today, the Ministry of External Affairs and National Security set-up have achieved what looked to be impossible on August 15, the day the Taliban captured Kabul.
Two more evacuation flights are expected to land from Kabul on Monday with the total number of Indians evacuated from Afghanistan in the excess of 700. Already, six flights, a mixture of Indian Air Force and Air India, have completed their missions with the evacuation starting on August 16.
According to diplomats based in Delhi and Kabul, the evacuation of Indians from Kabul involved multi-pronged diplomatic and security manoeuvres with Indian interlocutors led by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and the national security planners talking to top officials in Washington, Doha, Dushanbe, Tashkent, Ankara and of course Kabul at the same time.
Even after the US cut out a deal with the Taliban on exiting Afghanistan, the evacuation process is a complex exercise given the multiple levels of security screenings each evacuee has to pass under the barrel of M-4 carrying trigger-happy Islamist fighters of the Taliban and sundry groups. While the Hamid Karzai international airport operations are being handled by the US Rangers, the first perimeter protection is with Turkish Forces and the second perimeter protection with Taliban, who have multiple blockades and check-posts throughout the Capital en route to Kabul.
Even after the buses carrying evacuees manages to reach the airport, the Turkish forces open fire on the Afghan refugees thronging the airport. Since the refugees have little respect for any firing in the air, there have been instances of direct firing to make way for the evacuation process as a result of which many people have been killed. After the Taliban have searched the evacuees and Turkish have let through the vehicle, the US forces do full screening before the passengers are allowed to board the flight.
The Indian aircraft were not allowed to be parked at Kabul for security reasons as a result of which the Indian Air Force and Air India planes were parked at Dushanbe and Tashkent airports and waiting to go.
The situation was made more complex as the IAF planes are not allowed to fly over Pakistani airspace and had to fly over Iran with the special permission of Tehran. This not only resulted in extra flying hours but also IAF landings to be made at Jamnagar and then to Delhi. The Air India pilots also contributed to the evacuation effort as insurance companies voiced concerns over the safety of Kabul airport.