After holding Indian diplomats hostage for more than 36 hours, the Taliban escorted them to the airport on Tuesday morning but only after foreign agencies intervened and requested the terrorist group to provide safe passage for staffers of the Indian mission.
“The initial plan was to evacuate everyone together. On August 16 (Monday), a convoy carrying 45 Indians managed to reach the airport but the other two convoys were asked to go back by Taliban,” a senior functionary in the government told NDTV.
According to him, the second convoy which included Indian diplomats had about 80 Indians which was made to turn back. “The curfew imposed was only for Indians. Movement of nationals of other countries was not restricted,” he said.
The government of India was already on backchannel talks with many foreign agencies including Russians. Finally, they managed to convince them to persuade the Taliban to let the Indian mission staff go to the airport, he said.
“Taliban escorted our people to the airport including our ambassador. After reaching the airport with the help of other agencies (Americans) our plane was able to take off,” he said.
The Kabul airport is currently being operated by Americans. The Air Traffic Control is under their supervision.
The first C-17 plane landed in Delhi on Monday night carrying 45 people only. The second landed in Hindon this afternoon carrying mostly mission staff and personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Sources in the government indicate more sorties will be planned if necessary.
The issue of concern now is that although India has managed to bring its mission staff and ITBP personnel back, including their weapons, many armoured vehicles belonging to the force was left parked at the Kabul airport.
Although many countries are operating their missions from the airport, India has closed all its missions. “As of now India has shut its mission in Kabul but we are trying to get back our citizens whosoever wants to come back,” said a senior officer.
According to him, talks are in progress and when Kabul airspace opens, Indian planes will be sent to being back all Indians.