Taliban ‘Helped’ 150 Indian Diplomats During Evacuation Process: Report

Inside the Indian embassy in Afghanistan, 150 Indian diplomats were stranded watching the news of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Many armed Taliban fighters waited outside the main iron gate of the Indian embassy, according to a report in the news agency AFP.The Indian diplomats inside the embassy were getting increasingly nervous. India, as a country had always backed the democratically elected government of Afghanistan and was always against the Taliban. India’s opposition to the Taliban stems from the fact that Pakistan, India’s arch-rival has supported the extremist outfit. This position had earned India some hatred from the Taliban in the past. Thus, the Indian officials were increasingly nervous due to the Taliban’s presence outside the embassy. As it turns out, Taliban fighters were not present to take revenge, but to escort the Indian diplomats safely to Kabul airport. As per the report, nearly 24 cars drove out of the embassy on Monday. One car guided the convoy out of Kabul’s green zone and on the main road towards the airport. The Indians were not allowed to cross the green zone by the Taliban, after which the diplomats asked the Taliban to escort them out. “We then decided to contact the Taliban and ask them to escort our convoy out,” an Indian official told AFP.

Movement of the Indian Ambassador and the Embassy staff from Kabul to India was a difficult and complicated exercise. Thank all those whose cooperation and facilitation made it possible.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 17, 2021
Two failed attempts were made in the day to escort the Indians but it was only after dark on Monday that the Indian officials were escorted. The five-kilometer journey took nearly five hours to finish. There were multiple checkpoints along the journey where thousands of displaced people were on the road, as per the report.  

Image: AFP 
The Taliban fighters who accompanied the Indian convoy came out of the vehicle and aimed guns at the crowd forcing them to step back, hence, ensuring a safe passage to the Kabul airport. The journey ended at Kabul airport and the Talibanis left once the convoy entered the airport where the Americans were coordinating flights. A C-17 Indian military transport plane carried the 150 passengers to the Indian state of Gujarat. “I’m so happy to be back,” Shirin Pathare, an Air India employee told AFP. “India is paradise,” he added. Another Indian who was stranded at the Indian embassy said, “They (Taliban) 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.

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