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Evacuation of Indian ambassador from Kabul was ‘difficult and complicated’

New Delhi – The evacuation of India’s ambassador to Afghanistan was a “difficult and complicated” effort, according to India’s foreign minister.

Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon, who has been in his current job since September 2020, and his staff were among the evacuees who arrived in India on Tuesday on an Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft.

“Movement of the Indian Ambassador and the Embassy staff from Kabul to India was a difficult and complicated exercise,” External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said in a tweet, and thanked “all those whose cooperation and facilitation made it possible.”

Taliban fighters entered the capital Kabul on Sunday in a culmination of their campaign against the administration of president Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country as his regime collapsed.

The swiftness of Kabul’s fall to the Taliban brought new urgency to the evacuation plans of countries.

Kabul’s international airport, controlled by American and other NATO soldiers, witnessed chaos on Monday as thousands of foreigners and Afghans tried to leave the city in panic while many governments mounted airlifts of their diplomatic staff and citizens.

India enjoyed close and friendly relations with the former president’s government and its companies and nationals were involved in various projects in Afghanistan.

The embassy’s evacuation has been completed and all Indian staff brought back, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Twenty-one Indian nationals were evacuated by France and moved from Kabul to Paris.

India in recent days had told its nationals to get out of the country after key cities fell to the Taliban.

“Nevertheless, we understand that a number of Indians are stranded in that country, some of whom are employed by third country organizations,” the ministry said on Tuesday.

“Our immediate priority is to obtain accurate information about all Indian nationals currently in Afghanistan,” it added.

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