India could bring back nationals, officials from trouble-torn Afghanistan


By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India is weighing options to bring its nationals and officials back from troubled Afghanistan amid the worsening security situation there. The Taliban has already overrun a vast swathe of territory in the north without firing a bullet as scared Afghan soldiers fled to neighbouring Tajikistan, forcing countries like Russia and Turkey to close their consulates in the region and call back their diplomats.

Other have reduced their services and are worriedly watching the situation that is bound to deteriorate further before the September 11 deadline for full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan arrives. “Plans have been discussed for bringing back our citizens and officials present in different parts of that country and multiple agencies are in discussion for this purpose,” sources said. Since the proposal is in the planning stage, it is difficult to say right now if all nationals and officials would be brought back or if it would be partial evacuation.

India has its embassy in Kabul and consulates in Kandahar and Mazar where it has over 500 staff. It closed two consulates in Herat and Jalalabad earlier. For the record, the embassy said: “Media reports on #India closing its Embassy & Consulates in Afghanistan are incorrect. @IndianEmbKabul, Consulates in Kandahar & Mazar are open, functioning. We DO HOWEVER continue to closely monitor the evolving security situation particularly around Kandahar & Mazar cities.”

Matter to figure in talks with Russia 

The Afghan issue will come up for discussion during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s three-day visit to Russia beginning Wednesday.

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