India shuts last consulate in Afghanistan and evacuates citizens

Published August 10, 2021
Afghan policemen stand guard next to Indian and Afghan national flags, at a check point in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 12, 2011. — Reuters/File
Afghan policemen stand guard next to Indian and Afghan national flags, at a check point in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 12, 2011. — Reuters/File

India sent a military plane to northern Afghanistan on Tuesday to pull out its citizens, officials said, as fighting raged between Afghan security forces and the advancing Taliban.

The Indian government shut its consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif, the biggest city in the north, and urged its diplomats and Indian citizens to take the special flight home.

Taliban fighters have overrun six provincial capitals in recent days in the north, west and south of Afghanistan.

India, which has invested millions of dollars in development projects across Afghanistan, has now closed all its consulates, leaving only the embassy in Kabul operational, a government official said.

India's main opposition Congress party urged the government also to help evacuate Afghanistan's tiny Sikh and Hindu communities, to protect them from any attack by the Taliban.

Congress official Jaiveer Shergill estimated that there were around 750 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in the country.

Last month, India had temporarily brought back officials from its consulate in Kandahar, a major city in southern Afghanistan, as Taliban fighters continued to gain control amid the withdrawal of international forces.

"Due to the intense fighting near Kandahar city, India-based personnel have been brought back for the time being," Arindam Bagchi, chief spokesperson at India's foreign ministry, had said in a statement.

Bagchi had said, "India is closely monitoring the evolving security situation in Afghanistan," adding that the country's consulate in Kandahar was being run by local staff temporarily.

Opinion

Editorial

Security policy unveiled
Updated 17 Jan, 2022

Security policy unveiled

PAKISTAN’S freshly unveiled National Security Policy has broadened the traditional concept and included economic...
Bold decisions
Updated 17 Jan, 2022

Bold decisions

IT is a double blow within a matter of days. The Islamabad High Court’s order last week to demolish a navy golf...
17 Jan, 2022

Rohingya camp blaze

A HUGE blaze in a refugee camp housing members of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh last week has left up to ...
16 Jan, 2022

Omicron threat

AS Pakistan grapples with the fifth coronavirus wave fuelled by the Omicron variant, the state must take timely...
Updated 16 Jan, 2022

Grim picture

There is much the govt can do to create an environment free of repression and coercion so that democracy is strengthened.
16 Jan, 2022

Larkana jail unrest

THAT Larkana Central Prison authorities had to resort to the excuse of “cleaning the jail” to shift 13 dangerous...