“In view of the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided that our Ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff will move to India immediately,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi tweeted in the morning.
Though Afghanistan has closed its airspace for all civilian flights, military aircraft are still evacuating stranded foreign nationals with the help of the American troops stationed at Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul.
The Indian government has also introduced a new emergency category of e-visa to fast-track applications from distressed Afghans seeking to come to this country.
“MHA reviews visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan. A new category of electronic visa called ‘e-Emergency X-Misc Visa’ introduced to fast-track visa applications for entry into India,” a government spokesperson tweeted this morning.
In the past two weeks, India has evaluated all its diplomatic staff and their families from its three consulates in Afghanistan — Kandahar, Jalalabad and Herat.In a security advisory last week, the Indian Embassy in Kabul asked all Indian nationals visiting, staying and working in Afghanistan to keep themselves updated on the availability of commercial flights and make immediate arrangements to return to India.
The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan on Sunday evening, with the US troops virtually ending their 20-year military presence in the South Asian country.
India is particularly worried about the implications of the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan, given the fact that it has so far infused over three billion USD worth development aid into that country and the horrific memories of the Taliban’s role in the hijacking of an airliner in 1999.