New Delhi: Amid escalating tensions in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover, India on Sunday brought back 392 people, including two Afghan lawmakers, in three different flights as part of the mission to evacuate its nationals and the Afghan partners from Kabul.
A total of 168 people, including 107 Indians and 23 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, were flown from Kabul to the Hindon airbase near Delhi in a C-17 heavy-lift military transport aircraft of the IAF.
The officials said another group of 87 Indians and two Nepalese nationals were brought back in a special Air India flight from Dushanbe, a day after they were evacuated to the Tajikistan capital in an IAF 130J transport aircraft.
They added that 135 Indians, who were earlier evacuated from Kabul to Doha in the last few days by the US and NATO aircraft, were flown back from the Qatari capital city to Delhi on a special flight.
Those familiar with the evacuation mission said the group of 168 people, who were evacuated from Kabul, included Afghan lawmakers Anarkali Honaryar and Narender Singh Khalsa and their families.
“India is our second home. Even if we are Afghans and live in that country, people often call us Hindustanis. I thank India for extending its helping hand,” PTI quoted Khalsa as telling reporters at the Hindon airbase.
He, however, appeared extremely disappointed when asked about the situation in Afghanistan and said “it’s all over”.
“I am feeling like crying. Everything is finished. It is a very difficult and painful decision to leave the country. We have not seen such a situation. Everything has been snatched away,” said Khalsa.
Around 590 people have been evacuated by India from Kabul since last Monday.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, Farid Mamundzay, thanked all Indian friends and the diplomatic missions in New Delhi for their messages of support.
“I appreciate the kind words of sympathy and support messages from all Indian friends and the diplomatic missions in New Delhi over the suffering of Afghans in the past few weeks, particularly the last 7-8 days. The avoidable suffering of #Afghanistan is man-made and at a.. 1/2,” Mamundzay tweeted.