NEW DELHI: As the security situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, the government has “strongly advised” Indians to make travel plans for their return before commercial air services are suspended.
As the advancing Taliban forces launched an attack on Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan’s largest city in the north, the government evacuated Indian nationals in and around the city, including consulate staff, by special helicopter on Tuesday.
Late-evening IAF flight. According to international media reports, thousands of people have fled Mazar-i-Sharif and its surrounding areas.
The Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif will continue to operate with local staff, as it did in Kandahar, where the government recently evacuated Indian nationals.
The Indian embassy in Kabul issued a new security advisory, the third since late June, advising Indian firms operating in Afghanistan to immediately withdraw their Indian employees from project sites before air travel services are suspended. In light of the ground situation, it asked Indian nationals working for domestic or foreign companies in Afghanistan to immediately request that their employers facilitate their travel from project sites to India.
It stated that violence had erupted in many parts of Afghanistan, and that commercial air travel to many provinces and cities had been halted. Approximately 1,500 Indians are currently residing in Afghanistan.
According to the embassy, the advisory also applies to Indian journalists working in Afghanistan.
“It is critical that all Indian media persons arriving/staying in Afghanistan establish contact with the embassy’s public affairs and security wing for a personalised briefing, including specific advice for the location they are travelling to,” the statement said.